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New Technology May Make Data Breaches A Worry Of The Past

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(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some of Target’s employees won’t spend the Christmas holiday at home. The company says corporate staff will continue to help people whose data was breached.

Target is working with the secret service and Department of Justice to figure out how thieves stole millions of debit and credit card numbers from shoppers. They also announced a special page on its website to get information and resources directly from the company since scam emails have been sent out: https://corporate.target.com/about/payment-card-issue.aspx?ref=sr_shorturl_paymentcardresponse

New technology protected some people’s cards all together throughout this breach. And over the next few years, protecting yourself will likely become easier and easier.

For one, smart cards will soon be available in the U.S. in the next few years.

The cards compile all your accounts onto a single piece of plastic. They are widely used in Europe and require chips and pin numbers — making them more secure.

Another option we found — already available — protected some of those Target victims. It’s called a Masked Card. https://www.abine.com/maskme/features/cards/

A company in Boston came up with it. Every time you go to use one of your cards, it gives you a temporary card number that the cashier can type in or you can use online and after you use that number which links back to your account. It self-destructs so no thieves can use it even if they get it.

Rob Shavell is co-founder of the company who sells the Masked Cards, Abine, Inc. The Online Privacy Company.

“You can’t be 100 percent protected as a business. You can’t be 100 percent protected as a consumer. But if you don’t give out the information in the first place, which is what our masked cards allow you to do, then you can be 100 percent protected from hackers and theft,” Shavell said.

So, to recap, you have a number sent to your phone, use it at checkout on person and online, it draws from the cards you already have and the number is no longer usable. Between these masked cards and smart cards like they have in Europe, experts think people can easily be protected from these breaches in the future.

Speculation is that smart cards aren’t already here because credit card companies to upgrade equipment.

Full statement today from Target:

• On the afternoon of December 23, Tim Baer, Target’s EVP and General Counsel, hosted a call for attorneys general across the country to discuss the recent data breach that impacted Target guests in the United States. The majority of state offices were in attendance on the call. We felt it was important to proactively bring this group together to provide them with information about the issue and answer their questions as well as those of their constituents, who are our guests. We are committed to keeping the attorneys general informed as the ongoing investigation moves forward and will host a follow up call with them the week of January 6.

• We confirmed yesterday that we are actively partnering with the Secret Service and United States Department of Justice. We want to be clear that neither entity is investigating Target. Rather, we are partnering with both on the ongoing forensic and criminal investigation.

• We are aware of limited incidents of phishing or scam communications. To help our guests feel confident that what they are hearing from Target is really from us, we are in the process of setting up a dedicated resource on our corporate website where we will post pdfs of all official communications that Target sends to our guests. We expect that to post later this afternoon.

• We continue to work around the clock, including Christmas, to address the questions and concerns of our guests. We will continue to provide updates to you as they become available.

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