Hindsight is 20/20, goes a saying, but that doesn’t mean that people stop looking back.

That’s what a number of industry observers are doing after the revelation that someone — or group — apparently managed to place malware on the point of sales or card swipe devices at U.S. Target department stores and downloaded millions of credit/debit card numbers and their accompanying security codes.

According to Brian Krebs, who broke the story, the numbers are already being sold on the black market for US$20 to $100 a card.

That prompted JP Morgan Chase to reduce the limit cardholders can spend on their cards until new ones can be issued.

Before Canadian retailers get smug because it didn’t happen here, there are a few lessons to be learned. In a blog for CSO Online, Steve Ragan quoted a Forrester Research analyst declaring that “this is a breach that should’ve never happened. The fact that three-digit CVV security codes were compromised shows they were being stored. Storing CVV codes has long been banned by the card brands and the PCI SSC.”

The column has a few things retailers should keep in mind, including this from security vendor Sophos: “Large volumes of data should never be accessible by one user or process,” he said. The should also be encrypted it can be detected if an attempt is made to export large volume.

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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com