Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Keeping in credit

Fashionista's credit card has been used more frequently than usual over this season of goodwill. Whether on the internet or in shops, Fashionista likes to assume that her card details are safe and will not be misused by any techno grinches lurking in the payment processing shadows.
However, having been chatting to her friends at Datonomy, she was shocked to hear of some of the dangers that can greet the unwary internet shopper. For instance, last year the United States had a payment processor breach that the Washington Post described as "[possibly] the largest ever", with reportedly over 130 million credit and debit card details stolen.

It seems that retailers can be a particular target for computer hackers due to the sensitive customer information they carry. Retailers generally retain card information if they later need to refund a transaction, but they may hold a variety of additional items of personal customer information if, for example, the customer has signed up to a mailing list to see all the shiny new products or has a store card for bonus points, airmiles or whatever. Not only is losing lots of customer information incredibly embarrassing for retailers, but it may lead to legal claims, particularly if proper compliance procedures were not followed, and may even harm their share price.

Fashionista strongly supports Datonomy's suggestion that regular IT testing is the key to surviving the winter season and remaining computer bug- and virus-free.