Target Internet Breach Raises Security Awareness

Ivan Mauger Internet Security BlogThe target breach has come and gone and has become a subject of interest in most break rooms and business meetings. Surely someone in your offices come to the security team and ask silly questions. Most of the questions cannot be answered or have no connection with any issues that the target data breach might have had or any dealings with your business whatsoever. That being said here is how you might wish to answer your coworkers, family, and friends when they start wanting free tech advice.


Target has confirmed a security breach in which hackers gained access to approximately 40,000,000 credit and debit cards. The concern this raises is these hackers may delay the use of the credit card numbers in order to create physical clone cards in order to make fraudulent purchases. The hackers attack target somewhere between November 27 and December 15, 2013 in order to have a greater number of credit cards available to holiday shopping at target. It is possible that if you may purchases at target between these dates in your credit card may have been affected. Possible, not certain or perhaps even probable. Is also important to note that purchases on targets website were completely unaffected so unless you physically walk into a target store and made a purchase using your credit or debit card during the ascribed dates then you are in the clear. It is important to note that this is a problem within the United States and Canadian shoppers making purchases in Canada, even if they were physically entered the store and use their credit or debit card, are also in the clear.


Target has released that the hackers accessed the customer’s credit card number, debit card number, expiration date, customer name, and the CVV security number. Due to the nature of the intrusion is important to note that the hackers did not get the security number that is on the back of a credit or debit card. This is often referred to as a CVV2 number and was not compromised. Target would also remind us customers that this security issue should not cause any undue stress.


As this occurred in the United States consumers are protected under the US consumer protection act. This means that no consumer shall be made liable for fraudulent charge to your credit card and this incident is included. This means customers that are affected by this crime have no liability whatsoever. Unfortunately this works a bit differently for debit cards and although consumers should have limited liability it will be necessary to speak with individual banks in order to discern what the scope of that is. Most banks say a consumer has zero liability in this instance, others may set limits. If you are an international customer who happened to be shopping within the United States at the time you should speak with which every financial institution handles your accounts but you should be covered as well.


Watch closely for any charges that you did not make. Keep a careful eye on your credit card statement and look for charges that don't add up. If you see any charges the you not recognize you should report them immediately by contacting the issuing bank and let them help you get this sorted out. Remember the smart criminals are not going to make singular large charges and then dump the car. They tend to make many smaller charges that will fly under a customer’s radar in order to get the maximum amount from any given credit line before does turned off.

Target is also offering free credit monitoring for one year if you wish to take advantage. Target will be reaching out directly to customers that may be affected to make them aware of this opportunity however this will be offered to US customers only.