Target admits that it missed warning signs before data breach

By Daniel S Levine,

Target has admitted that it missed warnings that it was about to be the victim of one of the largest breaches of security in U.S. history. The retail chain came clean after a damning Bloomberg News report claimed that a computer security firm’s trap had picked up a hacker trying to access customer information.

The Bloomberg report claimed that Target had installed a $1.6 million malware detection tool created by FireEye and that it also had a team in Bangalore keeping a round-the-clock eye on data to make sure there was nothing suspicious. One of the traps set by the FireEye program was stung by a hacker on Nov. 30 and the Bangalore team did tell the company. However, nothing was done.

Now, a day after the Bloomberg report went live, Target has had to acknowledge that it made a mistake. “With the benefit of hindsight, we are investigating whether, if different judgments had been made the outcome may have been different,” a spokeswoman said in a statement, notes PCMag.

Target did admit on Dec. 19 that it was a victim of a security breach, which affected 40 million credit cards and over 70 million customers. Just last month, its fourth quarterly earnings report showed that profits dropped 46 percent over the same time period in 2012. The blow was even harder to take, as it happened during the busy holiday shopping season.

FireEye also issued a statement in response to Bloomberg’s claims, saying that it could not publicly confirm who its customers are.

In Target’s statement today, the company admitted that it did receive notice of criminal activity.

“That activity was evaluated and acted upon. Based on their interpretation and evaluation of that activity, the team determined that it did not warrant immediate follow up,” Target stated. “Our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to making further investments in our people, processes and technology with the goal of reinforcing security for our guests.”

image: By Jay Reed (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons



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