Menu
Target says it investigated but dismissed early signs of breach

Target says it investigated but dismissed early signs of breach

A 'small amount' of possible activity was logged prior to a warning from the US Department of Justice

Hackers infected Target's point of sale terminals

Hackers infected Target's point of sale terminals

Target said it investigated but ultimately dismissed early signs of a data breach, a decision it likely regrets after suffering one of the largest payment-card and personal-data breaches on record.

The retailer said it logs a vast number of technical events each week, and "a small amount of [the criminals'] activity was logged and surfaced to our team. That activity was evaluated and acted upon," Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

"Based on their interpretation and evaluation of that activity, the team determined that it did not warrant immediate follow up," Snyder wrote. "With the benefit of hindsight, we are investigating whether, if different judgments had been made the outcome may have been different."

The breach of Target's network resulted in the loss of 40 million payment card details, plus 70 million other personal records, causing U.S. lawmakers to question whether companies are doing enough to protect personal data. Target's data was stolen between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, the busiest shopping period in the U.S.

Snyder wrote that despite investing hundreds of millions of dollars in security, "the unfortunate reality is that we experienced a data breach."

She declined to provide a timeline for the early clues, but said the retailer was notified by the U.S. Department of Justice of a possible breach on Dec. 12. Target confirmed the breach three days later.

Target's cash registers, known as point-of-sale (POS) terminals, were infected with a type of malware called a "RAM scraper." The malware recorded payment card details after a card was swiped and the unencrypted data briefly sat in a system's memory.

Security experts believe a variant of "Kaptoxa," also called "BlackPOS ," was used against Target. The malware was spotted by security companies as early as March 2013.

The style of attack, which also affected luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, was notable for finding weaknesses despite a long-running effort to implement better security around card handling with the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwareintrusionTargetNeiman Marcus

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments