Should shoppers worry when hackers target retailers?

Shoppers nervous about laying down their credit cards following data breaches at both Target and Neiman Marcus should stop worrying, according to Yahoo technology columnist David Pogue.

"You won't be held responsible for anything," Pogue told the co-hosts of "CBS This Morning." "The credit card companies are more worried about your number than you are."

 Pogue said usually hackers steal credit card numbers online, but, in the case of Target, the hackers actually used software installed at the cash registers, probably put there by an insider.

"[It] collected the data of everybody who swiped the card in stores," said Pogue. "There's nothing you can actually do about that."

Hackers behind credit card thefts are often tough to track down, said Pogue.

"They're largely Eastern European teenagers," he said. Further complicating the process, he said, they do not use the numbers, but instead sell them, piecemeal, to others who will.

Sometimes, Pogue said, they steal the information, not for personal gain, but to send a message.

"They call them hacktivists," he said.

They steal credit card numbers, Pogue said, to make a point: "To make a political statement or bring down the man."

For consumers who are still worried, Pogue said there are ways to at least try to protect information, such as using one-time, throw-away credit card numbers when shopping online. This is a feature some banks offer their customers.

But, Pogue said, the best strategy is to just keep it all in perspective.

"If somebody gets your credit card number, it's not going to cost you anything," he said. "It's an inconvenience, I admit, but it's really nothing to lose sleep over."

  • Aliah Git

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