Inside the Target Security Breach

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  • Target
  • 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

How Do Credit and Debit Cards Work?

When you swipe your card to make a purchase at a store, immediately an electronic conversation between your bank and the store’s bank begins. The store's bank, which pays the store right away for the item the customer bought, needs to make sure the customer's bank approves the transaction and will pay the store's bank. On average, the conversation takes 1.4 seconds.

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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