Push of a Button: This Is How Fast They Can Lock Down the Entire Banking System
December 24th, 2013
Late last week it was learned that some 40 million charge cards were obtained using physical processing systems located in Target retail locations nationwide. Though no details of the how the hack attack was executed have been released by Target, the FBI or other agencies investigating the breach, it is likely that the processing machines themselves were compromised. Target claims that the hack was sophisticated, but on the technical side, once hackers found a way into the credit card processing machines, probably via remote entry from servers somewhere in Eastern Europe or Russia, the theft of credit card data itself would have been fairly straight forward by using scripts or applications that simply capture the data and send it off to servers owned by the hackers.
This was probably one of the largest credit card thefts in history, though it is not at all surprising. Two years ago we noted that cyber attacks would soon be targeting America’s e-commerce systems and just a few months ago it was noted that rogue terrorist groups were specifically working on sabotage operation to bring down the U.S. economy. While this latest attack on Target stores and their customers fell far short of crashing our economy or financial system, it proves, as did recent breaches of Pentagon military networks, that even the most highly secured systems in the world can be compromised.
Furthermore, what this attack highlights is that with the right type of “event” the economy and financial system of the United States can be shut down… almost instantly.
If you are a JP Morgan Chase banking customer and happened to use your debit card at Target stores between November 27th and December 15th, then you got a first-hand taste of what a shutdown of the banking system might feel like and how fast in can happen.