Target Customers A Big Target Themselves

National retailer Target, like all retailers, rely on sales during the holiday season to make their year a financial success. This year the sales around the Black Friday period may have been good business for Target, but they were also the focus of some serious monkey business from criminal hackers who have apparently stolen credit and debit card information of perhaps 40 million Target customers. While it's still early on the investigation, this targeted attack seems to have been well-coordinated and horribly effective during the height of the shopping season. The credit and debit card information seems to have been obtained from the in-store credit card terminals themselves, and if you shopped at Target between November 27 and December 15 you should go over your credit card bill with a fine tooth comb in the coming months. Names, card numbers, expiration dates and the 3 digit security codes were obtained (in other words everything the bad guys need). Expect to hear a lot more about this...
The largest breach against a U.S. retailer, uncovered in 2007 at TJX Cos Inc, led to the theft of data from more than 90 million credit cards over about 18 months. 
Since then, companies have gotten far more adept at identifying intruders. But criminals have responded by developing more-powerful attack strategies, spending months on reconnaissance to launch highly sophisticated schemes with the goal of extracting as much data as they can in the shortest period of time.

Representatives for J.C. Penney Co Inc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Best Buy Co Inc and Home Depot Inc told Reuters they believed their systems had not been compromised in similar attacks.

Target will provide more details on costs related to the issue at a later date, Snyder said. She declined comment when asked if Target expected potential fines from MasterCard, Visa and American Express or saw a possible increase in merchant fees.

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