Target hit by massive credit-card breach

“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.

29 Comments

    1. Yeah, because cash is theft-proof … wait, that’s not right. Cash is harder to steal … no … easier to track down cash if stolen … no … wait, what’s the advantage of cash here?

      1. Seriously?

        Um, maybe the advantage would be that the people who used cash over the same period, didn’t have to worry about the thieves having further access to their money?

        Just maybe that’s what Trondude was referring to? Duh.

        1. Cash can be stolen for the entire duration one is carrying it, and it must be carried to be used. Once it’s stolen, if one even notices they were pick pocketed, there’s nothing that can be done about it. Unlike credit cards, there’s no paper trail and no company one can just call obligated to reimburse stolen money (thanks to USA consumer protection laws). All you can do about stolen cash is talk to the police, which is a complete waste of time unless you already have all the evidence necessary to make an arrest.

          1. You’re really going to keep up with this stupidity aren’t you?

            Trondude’s comment was referring to Target having a massive credit-card breach.
            This story does not have anything to do with theft in general, but with identity theft in particular.
            And the people who shopped with cash at Target over this period, DID NOT HAVE ANYTHING STOLEN!

            There were a couple of people bemoaning the fact that their credit cards were compromised over buying a candy bar or a cd.
            If they had purchased those small items with cash, they would not have had a problem.
            Get it? That would be the advantage of cash in this particular instance.

            So yes, cash can be stolen. Everyone knows this. This is exceedingly obvious.
            However, that does not have a single thing to do with this story.

            Are you just going out of your way to be so dense?

      1. More than ten years ago I had received several Sacagawea dollar coins as change from a US Post Office stamp vending machine. When I offered them as payment at a fast-food restaurant, the teenage girl looked at the coins, then handed them back to me and said “I’m sorry, sir, but we can only take American money.” She was completely serious.

        1. A similar thing happened to me at a local convenient store back then, but my guy’s reason was that he thought they were counterfeit. I asked him if he thought that I had a mint in my basement cranking out fake coins. He just stared at me blankly.

    1. Norm, I’d hang onto the two dollar bills. They’re gradually becoming collector’s items, therefore worth more than two dollars.

      As for dollar coins: Dump ASAP. Who keeps insisting that #MyStupidGovernment keep foisting them on the citizenry?

      1. Indications are that they’ve wised up some, and are now looking at the Spanish Doubloon model, and in related agency news, are considering a Bozo the Clown commemorative stamp series. I keep encouraging my representative to licence the Hello Kitty brand, as it could help revitalise the economy as Smokey the Bear and Reddy Kilowatt have done.

        You have got to think outside the box, I tell you.

      2. Two dollar bills are still being printed, have never been discontinued, and still accepted everywhere other dollar bills are. Hoarding them is ridiculous. They are worth $2 each and the only thing that will change their value is inflation.

  1. Wow, MDN making an attempt at investigative journalism in an effort to take a pot shot at a Target. Not a total miss, might have hit the right time zone if it wasn’t for the “Aim for Saddam Hit Bin Laddin Guidance System” that is so popular these days.

    Target comes from part of the free world countries, like Britain, France (or Freedom as some call it), German, Norse and more:

    c.1400, “shield,” diminutive of late Old English targe, from Old French targe “light shield,” from Frankish *targa “shield” (cf. Old High German zarga “edging, border,” German zarge, Old English targe, Old Norse targa “shield”), from Proto-Germanic *targo “border, edge.” Meaning “object to be aimed at in shooting” first recorded 1757, originally in archery.

    Makes sense that the terrorists would take a pot shot at it, and at Christmas time too. Tsk tsk tsk, that will get you a lump of Kohl in your stocking.

  2. The raw ignorance of real computer, and accessory, security is going to go on forever, isn’t it. I guess it’s going to be a great career for whoever has the patience to clean up other people’s catastrophic messes. I don’t think anyone has enough patience to get TechTards in business to preemptively protect their company’s security. There’s nothing like a catastrophe to wake up the ignorant and the sleeping.

    “NOW do you understand the importance of serious security at Target? Do you get it yet?!” <- 'I told you so' ad infinitum. *sigh*

  3. The first thing I did when I learned of this was fire up iBank and make sure I didn’t have any credit card purchases at Target during that period. Lucky me, I’m safe.

    I understand that credit cards in the US are finally due to upgrade to the more secure standard that involves some kind of chip on the card. I’m curious if that standard involves dual-key cryptography, because that’s the only way I can see to avoid the data being intercepted.

    ——RM

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