We’ve all heard about credit card skimming. This is the method by which skimmers attach devices to ATMs and gas pumps that capture your credit card number, and it’s often associated with a camera to catch you putting in your PIN. In 2018, credit and debit card fraud resulted in $28 billion in losses. This has prompted repeated calls for people to be on the lookout for things that are suspicious, cover their hands when they input their PIN numbers, and to only use “reputable” ATMs and gas pumps. Unfortunately the fraudsters are always one step ahead, and they are always coming up with new and creative ways to commit fraud.
Most people thought that chip cards would prevent much of the fraud that hackers were perpetrating, and while it has certainly made it harder to make in-person purchases with stolen credentials, numbers along with PINs can still be used for online purchases. In addition, shortly after the chip cards were released, white hat hackers announced they’d found a way to beat the system.
Unfortunately there are still several ways in which hackers can gain access to enough of your personal data to cause you serious problems. For starters, lost and stolen mobile devices are responsible for nearly one in five incidents of fraud. Laptop theft costs businesses more than eight times the cost of issuing a new laptop, and 25% of stolen laptops are stolen right out of an office or car. Security experts recommend keeping laptops locked up and using cable locks when you travel with your laptop.
One of the newest threats is “juice jacking”, in which people use public charging stations and USB plugins to charge their mobile devices, not knowing that these are the source of serious security threats. Whenever possible you should us an AC charger to charge your mobile device. Watch for pop ups that indicate you might be doing more than just charging your device, and use a USB condom when you aren’t sure.
As mobile devices become more integrated into every part of our lives, it’s important to ensure we are taking the necessary steps to ensure they are being kept safe and secure. Learn more about physical security threats from the infographic below.