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Target leaks 40 million shoppers' data

Always check your bank bills

Computer fraudsters are like the communist guerrillas of the Che Guevara era -- they recognize "no borders in the struggle," says Len DeProspo, senior research analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, re Target Corp.'s announcement  that up to 40 million customer credit and debit card customer identities and codes were lifted by presumed thieves -- starting Nov. 27 and running until Dec. 15 when Target realized something was up.

"I am at Target all the time, so it definitely prompted me to check my credit and debit card statements for any strange-looking purchases," DeProspo told me. "Companies are fighting smart cybercriminals on all kinds of fronts – point of sale, online, mobile, processing."

He notes the Target leak, counted by number of customers, is as big as the TJMaxx fraud of a few years back -- and the latest reminder that "the U.S. is the last major developed country to not have cards with the more secure Chip + PIN system, versus the 50 year old magnetic-stripe technology." Of course, a switch to Chip-and-PIN will no doubt float a number of financial tech stocks like the ones DeProspo covers.