Our Opinion: Security must be a top priority

Published 9:01 am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It is estimated that up to 40 million credit and debit cards could be at risk after the 2013 holiday season.

Target Corp.’s initial consumer financial and personal information breach has only led to more problems, and now, warnings are out to beware of scam calls and emails that might become an even bigger problem than the initial breach.

It is interesting that the issue may have never happened if the U.S. used a tougher-to-crack system designed for the 21st century like many other countries.

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The recent Target security breach should act as a wake-up call to start transitioning to a better, more secure system.

Many European countries made the shift from magnetic strip cards to a chip-and-PIN system in the early to mid-2000s, but the U.S. lagged behind.

Why? The transition to a new system would cost retailers billions nationwide, so we have always fallen back to the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

The recent Target issue might be an indicator that the system might finally be “broke.”

Some have been skeptical of a transition to chip-and-PIN for fear that something new and better might come around right after billions of dollars have been spent on the new system.

That should be no reason to sit in the mud, however, and it’s time to move forward. The upgrade to chip-and-PIN might lead to a transition where we pay with smartphones, thumb prints or retina scans.

Who knows? It’s called progress, and it’s time to get away from the magnetic strip. It’s too easy for fraudsters to bust, and security isn’t going to get better with the current system.

It’s going to take cooperation from everyone to take steps toward a more secure system. In the meantime, don’t fall for any scams from anyone claiming to represent Target. Those who are concerned, are encouraged to check their bank account daily and contact a bank representative if any unexpected activity shows up.