U.S. Credit Card Security a Target for Hackers

NEW YORK — The recent data breach at Target stores nationwide has prompted experts to say that similar incidents will get worse before they get better.

Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, nearly 40 million Target customers who swiped their credit cards or debit cards during a transaction became susceptible to data theft. It is unclear how the breach occurred and what data hackers were able to take.

Many analysts believe the reason for the breach is that U.S. credit and debit cards rely on an east-to-copy magnetic strip on the back of the card. That magnetic strip contains the cardholder’s name, account number and other vital information. In other countries, however, people carry cards that use digital chips, which generates a unique code every time it is used, making it difficult from criminals to replicate, the Associated Press reports.

Credit card companies in the U.S. have a plan to replace magnetic strips with digital chips by the fall of 2015.

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