Target stores’ customers hit by major credit card attack

Shoppers are seen at a Target store during Black Friday sales in the Brooklyn borough of New York, November 29, 2013. Credit: Reuters
Shoppers are seen at a Target store during Black Friday sales in the Brooklyn borough of New York, November 29, 2013. Credit: Reuters

Payment card data was stolen from an unknown number of Target Corp. customers starting on the busy Black Friday weekend in a major breach at the U.S. retailer, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Secret Service is investigating, according to a spokesman for the agency, which safeguards the nation’s payment systems. Target officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Investigators believe the data was obtained via software installed on machines that customers use to swipe magnetic strips on their cards when paying for merchandise at Target stores, according to the person who was not authorized to discuss the matter and declined to provide further details.

Krebs on Security, a closely watched security industry blog that broke the news, said the breach involved nearly all of Target’s 1,797 stores in the United States, citing sources at two credit card issuers. The report said that “track data” from at least 1 million payment cards was thought to have been stolen before Target uncovered the operation, but that the number could be significantly higher.

“When all is said and done, this one will put its mark up there with some of the largest retail breaches to date,” the report cited an unnamed source as saying.

The biggest credit card breach at a U.S. retailer reported to date was an attack against TJX Cos, the parent of TJ Maxx and Marshalls. The company disclosed in March 2007 that data from 45.7 million payment cards had been stolen by hackers over 18 months. Banks later asserted in court documents the hackers could have obtained more than 94 million account numbers.

The data breach at Target could have extended from just after Thanksgiving to Dec. 15, Krebs said, citing evidence from investigators.

It is not yet clear how the attackers were able to compromise point-of-sales terminals at so many Target stores across the country. Doing so would have required careful planning by sophisticated cyber criminals.

An American Express spokeswoman said the company is aware of the incident and is putting fraud controls in place.

Representatives for Visa and MasterCard declined to comment.

There are no indications that the theft affected shoppers on Target’s website, Krebs reported.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.