Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Data Security of Retail Stores Targeted by Hackers

Main Street retailers in hacker crosshairs for credit card information over unsecured wireless networks. This CNET news story by New York Times Eric Dash looks at a street in Miami where hackers routinely download customer credit card numbers and other private information from databases sitting on wireless networks with easily guessed passwords or completely unprotected, unencrypted wireless networks.

Suggesting that small shopkeepers should be schooled on network security if they handle credit card or other financial information over their computer network. This story points out how sales consultants for small business credit card terminals or simple sales tools used in small businesses don't tell shop owners about the risk that accompanies the use of wireless terminals or that using those wired PIN entry pads for debit card transactions puts data at risk as it crosses their already installed wireless network.

Multiple vendors of small business tools don't feel obligated to point out risks of these issues when their tool is itself secure when used securely. Data security is an arcane area that mom and pop store owners rarely understand. Even if they understand the risks, they know nothing of solutions. Many don't bother even using built in WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy, a security protocol for wireless local area networks defined in the 802.11b standard) because they simply don't get the attendant geek speak that goes with implementing security in their tiny shops.

The story reviews how difficult it is to catch the hackers sitting in coffee shops on laptops, downloading sensitive credit card information from stores across the street from outdoor cafes with powerful networks broadcasting that information beyond store walls to grateful thieves sipping lattes at Starbucks and tapping keyboards as though they were doing something that ISN'T sinsister.

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posted by RealitySEO at 1:55 PM


Blogger ryan said...

Theres a demo on wifi hackers at http://www.lucidlink.com/wireless_hackers.asp - its shocking to see how easy it is

8:45 AM  

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