Q:

Are there any security risks associated with online REDcard management?

A:

Quick Answer

The security risk of online Target REDcard management is very low when using modern browsers equipped with encryption to secure online transactions. The data breach that affected REDcard users in December 2013 occurred in the point of sale system in Target stores, not in the online management system.

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Full Answer

Modern Internet browsers use the Advanced Encryption Standard to interact with secured websites, which are designated by "https" in the address line as well as with the icon of a padlock. Advanced Encryption Standard uses encryption keys that are 128, 192 or 256 bits in length. Keys of this length provide such a massive number of combinations that security experts believe that they are secure for both the present and the foreseeable future.

Transport Layer Security is the method of encryption that browsers use to exchange these keys with the website with which they are interacting. In this process, the website provides a certificate to the browser before encryption keys are exchanged. This certificate must come from a trusted party, be current and valid and have a relationship with the website that is issuing it. Once the certificate is authenticated by the browser, an encryption key is exchanged and any data that moves between computers is secured. This key is unique and is discarded once the session is terminated.

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