About 40 million impacted in Target security breach
Target confirmed Thursday morning that approximately 40 million credit and debit card shoppers may be impacted by hackers stealing information via the store’s point-of-sales terminals — where shoppers swipe their cards to make payments.
According to “Krebs on Security”, a security industry blog written by former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs, nearly all of the 1,797 Target stores across the United States were involved in the hacking attack.
This breach is the second largest against a U.S. retailer in history, according to Reuters. The largest hacking of customers’ information was in 2007 when data for nearly 90 million credit cards was stolen over an 18-month period at TJX Cos. Inc. (the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods).
In its statement Thursday, Target said it is working with law enforcement, financial institutions and a forensics firm to conduct an investigation into the breach.
“Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in the statement. “We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.”
The breach of security took place during an important stretch for both Target and consumers — the holiday shopping season. According to Target, the incident began Nov. 27 (the day before Thanksgiving) and was not resolved until Dec. 15.
“Most of these attacks are just a cost of doing business,” Mark Rasch, a former U.S. cyber crimes prosecutor told Reuters. “But an attack that’s targeted against a major retailer during the peak of the Christmas season is much more than that because it undermines confidence.”
In a letter to customers on its website, Target said the hackers gained access to names, credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. The store also recommended that customers monitor their account statements and credit reports, and report any suspicious or unusual activity right away. Customers that suspect unauthorized activity also can contact Target at 866-852-8680.
Read more about Target here.
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