Holiday hacking worse than thought

A customer signs a credit card statement next to a scanner in a Target store on December 19, 2013 in Miami, Florida. 

First, Target said hackers got access to info on as many as 70 million of its customers. Then Neiman Marcus said some of its customers’ cards were used fraudulently.   

Now, Brian Krebs of Krebs on Security says he’s investigating possible breaches at two more big chains.  Krebs wouldn’t name them. And he says retailers don’t like to fess up about cyber attacks.

“They have every incentive to hide it, particularly if it happens around the busiest shopping season for them," he says.

Plus, Krebs says retailers don’t want to attract other hackers, by appearing weak and vulnerable.  He says, it’s kind of like they’re guarding a castle from bad guys.

“If you didn’t know how they got in would you want to call attention to that problem? It’d sort of -- on one level -- be inviting all the bandits to come raid your castle," he explains.

So it’s up to consumers to be vigilant. Keep a close eye on your statements. Even tiny charges for pennies could indicate that hackers are testing to see if your account is still active.  Krebs says it’s common for cyber criminals to make a series of charges for less than $10.  Hoping consumers won’t notice.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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