Target breach in last 3 weeks impacts 40 million shoppers

BullseyeLogo-Hero_1The discount retail giant Target has had a breach of credit and debit card data that may affect as many as 40 million shoppers who went to the store in the three weeks after Thanksgiving.

The Secret Service confirmed late Wednesday that it was investigating a possible breach at the nations No. 2 retailer. The Secret Service is responsible for safeguarding the nation’s financial infrastructure and payment systems.

The breach was first reported by Brian Krebs, a security researcher, who stated that Target had suffered a data breach around the time of Black Friday, potentially involving millions of customers.

Target said cards used at their brick-and-mortar stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, may have been impacted. The retailer notified authorities and financial institutions immediately after it was made aware of the unauthorized access.

“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.”

There are some reports that the thieves may have gained access to data on the magnetic strips of shoppers’ cards, potentially allowing them to produce counterfeit versions. Fraudsters could also potentially withdraw cash from ATMs using counterfeit debit cards if they were able to intercept PIN data from Target.

According to a statement released by Target, the information compromised included the customer name, credit or debit card number, and the card’s expiration date and CVV code.

Read the full statement at Target

“We are partnering with a leading third-party forensics firm to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident and to examine additional measures we can take that would be designed to help prevent incidents of this kind in the future.” The statement read, “Additionally, Target alerted authorities and financial institutions immediately after we discovered and confirmed the unauthorized access, and we are putting our full resources behind these efforts.”

Several credit card companies including American Express and Discover, said they were aware of the incident and have fraud controls in place.

In 2006 competitor TJX Companies, operator of discount retail chains T.J. Maxx and Marshalls was a victim of a security breach when hackers gained access credit and debit card information to at least 94 million customers.
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