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While many people are still suspicious of online shopping, it seems it’s actually safer than shopping in traditional brick and mortar stores. The major concern for millions of consumers is that their credit card information will be hacked, but reports indicate the fear surrounding online shopping is largely unfounded.

When Are You Most Likely to Be Hacked?

While the concern over having one’s information hacked is certainly justified, it’s far more probable that it will happen in a real store. When people shop from home, they do so on secure servers that are equipped to handle sensitive information, while keeping hackers from prying into those transactions.

On the other hand, it’s much easier for thieves to obtain your credit card information from in-store purchases. That’s because swiping a card at a register doesn’t present the same security precautions as entering that same information online. That information stolen from the stores can be used to counterfeit credit cards or may be used in some other way. It’s just easier to get this information in a physical store than to hack it online.

Recent Hacks Targeted In-Store Customers

In a recent batch of hacks, Target, Neiman Marcus, and Home Depot have all reported having had customer accounts compromised. However, in releasing statements revealing news of the hacks, each store reported that no online shoppers were targeted. Instead, the hackers gained access to the accounts via in-store purchases.

According to the International Computer Science Institute’s Nicholas Weaver, there’s a reason cybercriminals have started going after brick and mortar stores. They know that’s the path of least resistance, offering more tempting targets. Since gathering data from physical credit cards is easier, that type of crime becomes more profitable than online hacking.

There are actually software applications that make this type of in-store theft easier for criminals, says Brian Krebs, who reports on news pertaining to cyber security. The malware application BlackPOS was helpful to hackers targeting Home Depot and Target customers. Looking at this information, Krebs says online shopping is safer and more secure. Until brick and mortar stores catch up and implement new security protocols to make their card readers more secure, online shopping will continue to be the safest method for making credit card payments and purchases.

Sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/online-shopping-safe_n_5822256.html

https://wtop.com/news/2014/12/column-is-it-safer-to-shop-online-than-in-store/