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How To Protect Your Business From Physical Data Theft



How To Protect Your Business From Physical Data Theft

If your business doesn’t accept chip payments, your clientele faces a higher risk of financial fraud. Still, it’s not too late to act; however, any brick-and-mortar retailer choosing against using chip transactions will be legally bound to cover the losses inflicted on any customer who is frauded at their company. Between 2015 and 2018, the businesses that opted for chip readers experienced a 76% cutback in the number of counterfeit payments they received. Simultaneously, counterfeit payments across the entire nation dropped by 49%. Nevertheless, the issue of fraud remains.


Methods of Scamming To Watch Out For

Today, most scammers let technology do their dirty work. By using surveillance and small devices placed in, or inside, of ATMs, gas pumps, and other high-traffic destinations, scammers can electronically steal the numbers from your customers’ credit and debit cards through a simple magstripe swipe or chip insertion. These approaches to data theft are known as skimming and shimming.

Less commonly, but still plausible, scammers take physical means of stealing data. In this instance, your company’s property would be stolen. Office buildings are robbery hotspots – 25% of laptops are stolen in either an office or a car. Laptop theft is more than 8x pricer than simply replacing the device would be. 

It’s not atypical for a business to store sensitive customer and operational data inside of their electronics. If that device gets lost or stolen, thieves have easy access to this private information. This also puts your client back at risk, likely to leave you responsible to restore their lost simoleons.

Here’s an example.

IN 2013, a pair of fake ATMs were discovered in Brazil as they were installed on top of existing machines. Each fake ATM was hardwired with a display, PIN pad, and a 3G connection which relayed the stolen data to the scammer’s clouded vault. Additionally, each ATM was found with a disassembled laptop and card reader inside.


The Effectiveness of Chip Cards

Overall, chips do provide a higher level of protection than the swipe-only magstripe. Last year, less than 5% of Americans even felt worried about the security of their new chip card. In fact, 99% of the 2019’s purchases were made on chip cards. However, not all chip cards are equal. 

European chip cards actually provide more security than the American variant. Using a chip-and-PIN authentication combination, consumers are comforted with more security. Still, chip cards can be compromised. Doing so just requires much more time, and is ultimately less profitable on the black market than magstripe data.


Tips To Protect Your Business

The most important thing you can do for the sake of your business, and clients, is to stay alert. For a more hands-on approach, physically store your laptop, secure your sensitive data, and keep unused connections turned off. 

Furthermore, never leave your devices unattended. For overnight purchases, monitor your expensive tech witch cameras, and be sure that area is well lit to review your recordings. An alternative to investing in surveillance is to keep your computers in a locked office and use cable locks to secure their placement.

You can secure your business’ data by using strong passwords, lock screens, and refraining from storing any confidential information on mobile devices. On these devices, be sure to keep Bluetooth and WiFi turned off when you’re not using them, and don’t allow your device to be discoverable by those nearby.

Most important, act quickly to protect your data in any instance you feel it may have been compromised. Beneath lies more information on protecting your business from fraud.

How To Protect Your Business From Physical Data Theft

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency , based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.