How to Protect Your Credit Card Information Online

With the recent news headlines of store breaches, everyone is worried about their information. We have already covered how to monitor your situation, and in this article we will cover how to protect your card information while actively using it.

Slowly gaining popularity, there are services that “mask” or “generate” new credit card numbers for you during a transaction. It works by you never giving the true credit card number and information to the store. A new temporary number is generated from the service, often with a maximum value to spend and the store gets that information. In the case the store gets hacked or breached, this temporary number is useless because the card is already “maxed” out from your one time spend, and the card number is likely not valid anymore.

One service called DoNotTrackMe gives you this functionality for $45/year and Bank of America has the ShopSafe service addon. Other banks and services might exist, these are just the couple I’m aware of.

Should I Bank Online?

I get asked this question often from family members, and while they are looking for a yes or no answer, I can’t leave them with just a yes. Yes I bank online. But I apply several underlying cyber security fundamentals when I bank online. I would advise you to do the same.

A couple items stick out to me:

  • I don’t bank online from a public internet connection or a connection that I do not trust
  • I make use a security zone by using a computer (okay a virtual machine) dedicated to banking.
  • After I login and perform the action needed, I log out and clear out any caches.

Security is always a balance of convenience and usability to actual security. By sticking to these principles, I have a system that reduces my risk from potential attackers.