Oceanside CA- 40 million credit card and debit card users who shopped at Target stores, in the US, between November 27 and December 15 have had their data stolen the company confirmed, yesterday. Millions of cardholder accounts may have been vulnerable after the breach that is believed to have affected about 40,000 card machines at store registers, The Wall Street Journal said, quoting people familiar with the situation.
The breach involves the theft of information stored on the magnetic stripe on the backs of cards used at nearly all of Target’s stores around the country, according to the Krebs on Security website, who first reported the news. The thieves reportedly gained access to data on the magnetic strips of shoppers’ cards, known as Skimming, potentially allowing them to produce counterfeit versions, according to Krebs. “The breach window is definitely expanding,” an anti-fraud analyst in the US told Krebs. A data breach investigation firm representative who wished to remain anonymous said that they expect this breach to compare in scope to “some of the largest retail breaches to date.”
The retailer said it notified authorities and financial institutions immediately after it was made aware of the unauthorized access, and had hired a forensics team to thoroughly investigate how the breach may have happened. “Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence,” said CEO Gregg Steinhafel in a statement. “We regret any inconvenience this may cause.” The Secret Service is also involved in the investigation.
Consumers are always urged to keep a close eye on their accounts for any suspicious activity but that is especially true for those who shopped at Target during the November 27-December 15 time frame.