Sunday, 2 February 2014


70 Million People’s Data Leaked from US Retail Chain

Target chain had to admit that hackers stole personal data with details of about 70 million people. Phone numbers, email and home addresses leaked in the hack.

Target’s experts revealed that the extent of a pre-Christmas breach to its computer systems was greater than it had initially thought. The company hasn’t said until now how many people were affected. Security experts believe that it will affect more than 70 million and end up being the largest retail breach ever. The retail chain informed its customers that hackers stole their names, card numbers, expiration dates, PINs and the embedded code on the magnetic strip on the back. However, the company assured people that they will not be liable for any fraudulent charges resulting from the breach. It is known that PIN codes would have been encrypted, but other information might have been stored in a human-readable format.

When the breach was announced, a number of banks imposed daily spending limits on people with affected cards (this wasn’t a very pleasant thing ahead of the holiday shopping rush). Anyway, transactions at Target were down by 3-4% before Christmas, while other American retailers reported strong results.

Earlier, the security experts reported a huge electronic breaking at Adobe Systems, with 152 million usernames and passwords stolen. In that case, the passwords were encrypted, but some flaws in the system could allow hackers decrypt them.

The breach happened within a 19-day period since the end of November. The hack was brought to public attention by the security researcher on 18 December. It later appeared that the details of leaked cards were flooding into online underground criminal markets.

The retail chain has previously been the object of such hacking, paying a $9.75m settlement four years ago. But the extent of the latest breach suggests that the intruders could access its interfaces with banks and credit card companies. Target told its customers last week that its ongoing investigation has proved more personal data had leaked than it was estimated before. The company promised to contact customers and provide tips on how to safeguard against consumer scams. In addition, target offers a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to people who shopped at its stores. You will have 3 months to enroll in the program.

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