That’s exactly what happened to the Forever 21 retail chain early last year.
According to a company press release, hackers first gained access to payment card data in April of 2017.
However, their activity went undetected until mid-October, when Forever 21 was alerted to the possible breach by a third party.
Here’s a breakdown of what happened:
Since 2015, all point-of-sale (POS) terminals in Forever 21 brick and mortar stores have been equipped with encryption technology to prevent a potential security breach.
However, the clothing retailer reported that in some U.S. locations the encryption was off during the time of the breach.
As a result, hackers were able to install malware and gain access to card numbers, expiration dates and verification codes.
In some cases they also obtained cardholder names.
So how’d they do it?
The answer isn’t clear yet.
In addition to cooperating with the ongoing police investigation, Forever 21 is working with its POS provider, payment processors and third-party experts to come up with an answer.
The company is also taking steps to enhance security measures at POS terminals and in their statement advised consumers to always review their payment card statements.
Hacks like these can have a big impact on businesses.
As we learned from Forever 21 (and other major cyber attacks of 2017), getting hacked is costly even for the big guys.
So, just think how damaging it can be to smaller businesses that may not have the time, money or resources to invest in preventing a security breach—not to mention deal with one when it happens.
In addition to the bad press, your business could suffer significant financial losses as the result of shutdowns, customer reimbursement, security fixes and even lawsuits resulting from the breach.
What can merchants learn from the Forever 21 hack?
For starters, never let your guard down.
As payment processing technology evolves, modern hacking techniques are also getting more sophisticated—which means you need to stay one step ahead of would-be cyber criminals.
How do you do that?
Start by reading our blog: 7 Ways to Help Ensure Your Payment System Doesn’t Get Hacked.
Then, call the experts at MyWatchmen.
We know everything there is to know about payment processing systems—and that includes making sure they stay secure.
Our team will conduct a thorough analysis to not only make sure you haven’t been hacked, but also that you won’t be hacked in the future.
We’ll help you understand the ins and outs of your system so you can protect your business and keep your customers’ sensitive information safe.
And if something ever goes wrong, we’ve got your back.
Call MyWatchmen today at 1-888-256-2845 or schedule a time to meet with us.