Feeds

Crooks target Target: 40 MILLION bank cards imperiled in cyber-heist

Shoppers to spend Christmas checking credit, debit accounts for fraud

Boost IT visibility and business value

Target says 40 million credit and debit card accounts are at risk after crooks infiltrated the US megastore chain's payment systems.

It's feared criminals harvested customers' sensitive banking details between November 27 and December 15, right in the middle of America's peak shopping season. The leak leaves shoppers vulnerable to potential fraud.

The retail giant today confirmed there had been "unauthorized access to payment card data", after investigative journo Brian Krebs broke the news of the infiltration on his website. His sources claimed hackers copied card numbers, names and other data from the magstripes on victims' cards after they were swiped at the tills, allowing the crooks to produce cloned cards.

The breach was perfectly timed to take advantage of Americans flooding stores to buy holiday gifts. Target is now probing the attack, with the help of the authorities and banks, to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests [customers] and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Target president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

"We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice."

Based out of Minneapolis, Target is among the largest of the "big box" retailers in North America. The company reports that it has 1,778 stores in the US and Canada, and logged more than $73.3bn in revenue last year.

Krebs cites sources at credit-card issuers, who believe the breach could have involved nearly every Target outlet in the country.

Should the breach be as massive as believed, the fallout could rival that of the 2007 wireless network breach of TJ Maxx parent TJX Companies: sensitive data on 45.7 million credit card accounts was harvested from compromised systems within the retail giant's infrastructure.

That incident proved to have major repercussions for TJX as the company spent years rebuilding its reputation, and ultimately cost it more than $110m – perhaps as much as $256m.

Target will likely now have a long road of investigations, audits and reconciliations in the coming months while customers will need to keep a close eye on their bank and credit card statements for signs of fraud. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?