Nearly 40 million credit and debit cards have been compromised according to Target Corporation. The cards were hacked during the first 3 weeks of the holiday season. The card readers were initially compromised during Thanksgiving. Luckily, online shoppers were not affected by the malicious software.
CEO Gregg Steinhafel pinpoints that the matter was resolved immediately so that customers can continue shopping without any worries. The issue was resolved on December 15th, 2013. The hack was considered to be the second largest retail hack in history. Some of the information which was stolen includes expiration dates and payment/CVV numbers. As a result of the hack, Target has advised that customers check for suspicious transactions. Target also recommended that customers check their credit reports as well.
All 1,797 Target stores were affected due to the card reader hack. Point of sales terminals were utilized during the process to procure the card data. A spokesperson for Target states that the hack must have been extremely sophisticated if all of the Target stores were targeted. As a result of the malicious software, VISA and MasterCard have implemented fraud controls. All financial institutions were made aware of the incident so that controls can immediately be used. Currently, the secret service is working on clearing up the case. The CEO of Belus Capital pinpoints that the reputation of Target may be affected and sales in January will negatively be affected. Many security experts have also derived possible scenarios in which the incident could have taken place. Malicious software could have been integrated into a Target machine or an employee could have mistakenly clicked a link which led to the installation.
Other similar cases took place in the year 2007 and 2011 with TJX Companies and Sony. The data theft period seem to last almost 18 months in the particular case for TJX Companies. Nearly 46 million cards were hacked as a result of the TJX hack. As a result, TJX agreed to pay nearly $10 million dollars in settlement compensation. In regards to the Sony case, nearly 100 million accounts were hacked during the period which resulted in data being breached.
The main issue that is now discussed is how to make sure to properly secure computer systems so that they are not easily compromised in the future. Retailers and consumers cannot afford another malicious software hack with card readers.
Who is the author? Blair Thomas is an electronic payments expert who co-founded eMerchantBroker.com an Instant Approval High Risk Merchant Account company. He enjoys hiking, dining and making new music. When he’s not working in the electronic payments industry, you can find him producing and writing beats. Follow him and eMerchantbroker on Google+