There is no doubt that supply chain breaches have become a major concern in nearly every business, especially where electronic transactions are taking place. Hacking that can result in supply chain breaches makes businesses vulnerable to theft of confidential data, along with real life theft of goods that are in transit.  For a hacker, the information obtained by gaining access to secure computer data can lead to the theft of millions of shopper’s credit card and account information, leaving a business liable for a fortune in fraudulent charges.

A glaring example of this is the recent major hack of discount retailer Target, which occurred on Black Friday of 2015. Over 40 million customer accounts were illegally accessed, giving the thieves credit and debit card data, along with security codes which are found on the back of the cards.  Luckily, no social security numbers or other vital information was stolen. 

Hackers can use this type of highly sensitive information to make electronic purchases online or sell to the highest bidder.  As a result of this enormous security breach, many major banks and other financial institutions have announced that they are much more thoroughly monitoring their customer accounts.  JPMorgan Chase (JPM) said it would limit the amount of cash that cardholders could withdraw from ATMs in a given period of time, along with enforcing a spending limit for electronic purchases in stores.

Chuck Schumer has demanded a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as to whether encryption of customer data should be required by law, while Richard Blumenthal called for a Federal Trade Commission probe.

What do I do if my card was hacked? 

“Customers typically aren’t liable for unauthorized purchases on their accounts that they report promptly. Major banks and credit card companies — including American Express (AXP), Discover(DFS), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC) and PNC (PNC) — said they were monitoring customer accounts.  J.P. Morgan Chase said it was temporarily limiting ATM withdrawals to $100 a day and purchases to $300 a day for customers whose accounts were at risk.”

Wallace

How does this type of security breach occur?

Unfortunately, many of these hackers are extremely adept at covering their trails.  Many of the details of these crimes remain unsolved. In relation to the recent Hacking of Target, it is believed by security experts to have been a breach from point-of-sale-data. Basically, a HVAC vendor was allowed access to information on the same server that held customers’ credit card and other financial information. The bad guys obtained passwords from this vendor and were able to get onto Target’s server.  This is a major blow for both Target and their participating financial institutions, as they are forced to cover all fraudulent charges in order to retain shopper confidence.

“The recent, unprecedented cyberattacks have disrupted business for leading global companies, infiltrated governments and shaken confidence among security practitioners,” said Tenable CEO Ron Gula, in a press release. “With so much at stake, organizations need to know whether their security programs are effective or if they are falling short.”

(Fox News)

Data breaches are a rapidly rising area of concern globally, and in particular financial services where large areas of money are transferred both physically and electronically between different parties.  On the more passive side, hackers can find extremely confidential business information and disperse it into a public realm, usually through online avenues, and can seriously damage or inhibit the operational capacity of the entity.  Information such as bank account transactions, business trade secrets, and material production/sourcing information can be leaked to competitors in a way that gives them an advantage in the sales market, or in some cases even damaging the victimized company to a point that recovery is difficult or even impossible.