Inside the Target Security Breach

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  • What Went Wrong?
  • How Do Credit and Debit Cards Work?
  • What Type of Information Is Stored on a Credit or Debit Card?
  • Is the Magnetic Strip Easy for Hackers to Decode?
  • Is Credit Card Security an Issue?
  • What Is Target Doing About the Security Breach?
  • Chase Enforces Limit for Card Holders
  • Card Companies Monitor for Fraud
  • Breach Prompts Federal Investigation
  • Secret Service Vows to Get to the Bottom of it
  • Target Shoppers File Suit
  • Is The U.S. an Easy Target?
  • What Do I Do If My Card Was Hacked?
  • The Future of American Credit and Bank Cards
  • The Largest Security Breach in the Nation
  • Target

What Type of Information Is Stored on a Credit or Debit Card?

U.S. credit cards rely on a magnetic strip (the black stripe) on the back of the card, which uses the same technology as cassette tapes.  Magnetic strips store your primary account number, the user's name, a country code, an expiration date for the card and several characters of information.

 (Photo: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Getty Images)

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