Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Security of 40 million Target credit cards compromised for holidays

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For target stores, the nation's second largest retailer, the news couldn't have come at a worse time. Security researcher Brian Krebs says that Target suffered a data breach around the time of Black Friday last month "potentially involving millions of customer credit and debit card records." As many as 40 million credit cards may be affected, very bad news at the height of the holiday shopping season.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Target officials say the cards, used at the brick-and-mortar stores between November 27 and December 15, 2013, may have been impacted.

The Secret Service, charged with safeguarding the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems, say they are investigating the breach.

The retailer didn't share as to how their systems were hacked. Judging by the breadth and the kind of information the hackers got, experts say the villains targeted the retailer's point-of-sale system.

This presupposes that the hackers either slipped malware into the terminals where customers swipe their credit cards -  or that they collected customer data while it was on route from Target to its credit card processors.

Authorities and financial institutions were notified immediately after it was made aware of the unauthorized access. A forensics team has been hired to investigate how the breach may have happened.

According to Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder, the issue that allowed the breach has been identified and resolved. "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," CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement. "We regret any inconvenience this may cause."

According to Krebs, the thieves reportedly gained access to data on the magnetic strips of shoppers' cards, potentially allowing them to produce counterfeit versions. The thieves could also potentially withdraw cash from ATMs using counterfeit debit cards if they were able to intercept PIN data from Target.

Many major credit card companies and banks say they are now monitoring the situation, and encouraged customers to alert them to any possible fraudulent charges.

The good news? In data breach situations, customers aren't on the hook for any fraudulent charges. Someone further up the chain -- the card issuer, or sometimes the merchant -- is responsible for those costs.



Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)