Archive for the 'Online Security' Category

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Credit Cards: How Are They Verified?

Ever wonder how a credit card number is verified? A fascinating article, Making Sense of your Credit Card Number published by Digital Inspiration Technology Blog.

You credit card number may look like a random string of 16 digits that’s unique in the world but those digits reveal a little more than you think. For instance, the first digit of the card represents the category of industry which issued your credit card.

American Express is in the travel category and cards issued by them have 3 as the first digit. If you have VISA or MasterCard, your card’s first digit should be either 4 or 5 as they are from the banking and financial industry.

The first six digits of your credit card number identify the institution that issued the card to you. VISA cards follow the series 4xx while MasterCard uses 51-55 as the prefix.

You may even verify if a given credit card number is valid or not using simple addition. The following visual illustration courtesy of Mint.com will help you understand more about the anatomy of your credit card.

Data Breach Costs

In a previous post, I explained the risks of phishing.  In the 2009 Annual Study Australian cost of data breach report, they state that the average cost per compromised record is $123. Can you imagine that? If you have 10,000 records in your database, that’s a whopping $1,230,000. Which is why the common statement holds true… “80% of businesses that suffer a catastrophic data breach incident close their doors within 18 months.

Pretty sobering stuff isn’t it?

What can you do to ensure you and you’re data are safe? Be diligent about LIMITING access to data and ensuring you have the best and latest technology possible.

I don’t want to get into the details today, just thought I would share the statistic for you – it sure makes more “real” doesn’t it?

Phishing

Phishing” (also known as “carding” or “spoofing”) refers to email that attempts to fraudulently acquire personal information from you, such as your account password or credit card information. On the surface, the email may appear to be from a legitimate company or individual, but it’s not. I came across this particular explanation of phishing that I thought was helpful and valuable enough to share with you.

There are so many people I know who don’t take necessary precautions to protect themselves – for example they don’t shred their personal documents. They just throw them in the trash… this is ESPECIALLY dangerous with apartment buildings. Let’s face it – if YOU were trying to steal people’s identities would you go through the trash to steal ONE person’s or 100, 200 or even 300 all in one go? Sure the pile would be BIGGER with 100, 200, 300, but so will be the payoff!

I am not a paranoid person, just cautious – on the Internet it’s just so much easier for people continents away to be malicious.