My Grandma is a potential target for cyber criminals this holiday season…

My grandma will turn 90 in several months. She never owned a computer, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know how use one. Her mobile phone has actual keys and is anything but smart. Yet this holiday season she too can become a target for cyber criminals. How’s that? Very simple- she owns a credit card. Yes, in 2014 a chasm has been crossed, where people with absolutely no connection to computerized devices are under actual threat of cyber theft. Sure, credit card details have been stolen by criminals since the days of the carbon copy. But only now has the technology matured to a level where cyber criminals can get a hold of huge quantities of credit cards used in stores (thanks to ever-evolving Point of Sale malware), extract it and either sale it on underground markets or use other sophisticated means to monetize large quantities of card details (as described in our previous posts: http://cytegic.com/blog/?p=68). Technical evolution aside, this is a new cybercrime frontier.

Up until now the general assumption was that an individual who’s been a cybercrime victim was in part responsible- either he was visiting a “dirty” site, carelessly opening a suspicious looking email attachment, stupidly wiring money to a“friend in need”, providing his account details to a non-secure website etc.

Not anymore.

Anyone is a potential victim. And not just because he/she owns a credit card. Even if they don’t, their personal details (saved at their healthcare or insurance provider) are still lucrative target for hackers. But since credit cards are the easiest to monetize (and apparently, to steal) they are in greatest danger of being stolen, and most likely to be stolen from retailers, which, during this time of year process huge amounts of transactions, both online and in store.

So what does this shift means?

It means the responsibility has shifted as well.

No more could we blame the careless consumer. The responsibility no lies with the retailers. So they must do whatever they can to secure their customers’ financial and personal information. After all- would you like to be the one responsible for someone stealing my Grandma’s money?

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