Target’s massive data breach, which occurred between November 27th and December 15th 2013, was one of the largest data thefts throughout the history of data breaches. And since the breach was reported, we’ve been learning more concerning details every week or two.
Initially, Target reported the theft of 40 million customers’ credit card numbers. But it didn’t stop there: we learned that the hackers also stole sensitive information, including names, phone numbers, and addresses, of 70 million customers. Ultimately, the hackers managed to steal 110 million customers’ personal and financial data!
So how did the hackers manage to steal such a massive amount of data from a large retailer? The hackers compromised the systems of Target’s third-party vendor, an HVAC firm known as Fazio, in order to steal passwords and user IDs for Target’s systems. Once the hackers accessed those systems, a piece of malware was used to steal credit card numbers from the cash register.
The Aftermath of Target’s Data Breach
As of February 1st, 2014, Target’s data breach has resulted in $60 million in direct costs. And the costs are rising! At least 100 lawsuits are unresolved. While the breach was highly displeasing for the affected customers, there’s a lesson to learn from it: if you’re neglecting IT security, you’ll pay the price in terms of cost and reputational damage.
Protect Your Cardholder Data!
Unfortunately, hackers will always target organizations that handle financial transactions, however, there’s a few ways to protect your cardholder data:
- Check Your Credit Report: Check your credit report on a regular basis. This can be done at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Use a Monitoring Service: A monitoring service will keep track of your credit file and alert you of any suspicious activity.
- Check Bank/Credit Card Statements: Try to get into the habit of checking your bank and credit card statements at least once a week.
A data breach will impact your organization and your customers. Make sure you’re ensuring IT systems are secure at all times. And remember, resolving a data breach costs more than preventing a data breach.
To learn more about the aftermath of Target’s data breach, give us a call at (770) 321-5532 or send us an email at email@example.com. Cohn Consulting Corporation can help you ensure your IT systems are secured to prevent a data breach.
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