An Inside Job on Credit Card Hacking

December 1st, 2013

Recently Barnes and Noble announced that credit and debit card numbers as well a PIN numbers had been stolen through compromised credit card readers from 63 of their stores throughout the nation.  The theft was so widespread and effected so many locations, that security experts believe it was probably an inside job.

Security specialists have speculated that the credit card hacking was done by someone who had access to card readers in the stores, to the computer systems or both.

Often, we hear of credit card hacking from outside the U.S., however, the Barnes and Noble incident should be a reminder to employers to pay more attention to potential credit card hacking within their own ranks.  Remember, if a large company like Barnes and Noble can be open to credit card hacking on this large scale, what about a small business who certainly can’t afford not only the extra legal costs associated with defending yourself against potential lawsuits, but also prosecuting the perpetrator, not to mention the lost revenue and public scrutiny that such a situation brings about.

But there are some steps that your business can take in order to avoid in-store credit card hacking.  Here are five tips on how your company can steer clear of the danger.

  1. Know your employees.  Actually, if you’re a small business, you’re in luck.  Many smaller businesses get to know their employees better than the huge conglomerates.  Trusting your employees is essential –especially since they’re handling cash, credit cards and merchandise, however, sometimes employers don’t realize that the employees aren’t as trustworthy as they should be.
  2. Check your equipment.  In the case of the hacked card readers, perhaps an inspection could have uncovered evidence that the reader had been tampered with.  So put “equipment inspection” on your list of things to routinely check.
  3. Secure all your data lines.  Your data needs to be encrypted to reduce the potential for credit card hacking.  If it’s not, you’re liable for that data.
  4. Be aware.  Keep your eyes and ears open for anything that appears out of the ordinary with your accounts, equipment or employees.
  5. Engage your employees.  Let your employees know that dishonesty is not tolerated and you’re keeping a careful watch on everything and everyone.  A sloppy employer leads to the potential of more problems.

By following these five steps, you can keep your company and your customers safer and avoid potential problems.

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