“Target Corp. was hit by an extensive theft of its customers’ credit-card and debit-card data over the busy Black Friday weekend, a brazen breach of the major retailer’s information security,” Robin Sidel, Danny Yadron and Sara Germano report for The Wall Street Journal. “The company early Thursday confirmed a data breach may have affected about 40 million credit card and debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Target said it alerted authorities and financial institutions immediately after it found out about the unauthorized access. It added that it is joining with a forensics firm to conduct an investigation into the incident.”

“The theft was national in scope and happened in stores, not online, and may have involved tampering with the machines customers use to swipe their cards when making purchases, people familiar with the matter said,” Sidel, Yadron and Germano report. “The data affected in the breach included customer names, credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates and CVV security codes, according to a notice posted for customers on the Target website… The thieves gained access to data that is stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of the credit and debit cards, according to the people familiar with the breach. The stripe contains data that is valuable for making counterfeit cards, such as account numbers and expiration dates, but it wasn’t immediately known which data was vulnerable.”

Sidel, Yadron and Germano report, “The Secret Service is investigating the breach, a spokesman said, but wouldn’t discuss details of the incident while the investigation is ongoing. Secret Service often investigates significant hacks of credit-card data, as part of its mission is to safeguard the country’s financial infrastructure and payment systems.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The perils of naming yourself “Target.”

(Yes, we know it’s “French,” pronounced “tar-zhay.”)

The sooner Apple revolutionizes and takes over the credit/debit payment industry, the better.

Hey, let’s be careful out there.