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The rash of attacks against Target and other top retailers is likely to be the leading edge of a wave of serious cybercrime.
"Traditional defenses such as installing antivirus software and monitoring accounts for unusual activity have offered little resistance against Eastern European criminal gangs whose programmers write malicious code aimed at specific targets or buy inexpensive hacking kits online. Armed with such tools, criminals can check for system weaknesses in wireless networks, computer servers or stores’ card readers," says the Washington Post.
“You’re going to see more and more people trying this,” said Nicolas Christin, a security researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. “If you just saw your neighbor win the lottery, even if you weren’t interested in the lottery before, you may go out and buy a ticket.”
Expert say that reversing the rise in major data breaches would require expensive upgrades, including the adoption of end-to-end encryption, the walling-off of the most sensitive data on separate networks and the adoption of newer credit card technology that holds customer information on an embedded chip rather than the familiar black magnetic tape now on most American cards, says the Post.
“I think we’re going to hear a lot about these breaches over the next year,” said Brian Krebs, a cybersecurity journalist who blogs at KrebsOnSecurity.com. “It just looks like some of the guys involved in this activity have compromised a ridiculous number of companies.”
Krebs reported that the Target breach happened after criminals gained access to the company networks through a contractor that was servicing heating and air conditioning systems at several stores, says the Post.