Target Security Breach Second Largest Credit Card Breach In U.S. History

The Target security breach is the second largest credit card breach in U.S. history, because up to 40 million cards may have been exposed. It turns out that someone hacked access into the card readers at the retail giant. Once a person swiped their card at a Target store, their personal data – name, credit card number, expiration date, and their magnetic strip's embedded code were exposed.

The Target security breach did not affect online purchases, only POS terminals at their U.S. stores. It is not clear whether other terminals, like Starbucks or the pharmacies, were affected.

The Target security breach affected purchases starting on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (November 27) to December 15, 2013, when the breach was discovered and reported to law enforcement authorities.

Target is already a leader in data security; the hack could have been a demonstration that no data is truly safe.


Target's 1st email Sent to customers On December 21, 2013 About The Target Security Breach
target security breach email 1


Target Security Breach – The Critics Sound Off On The Handling of The Error

Critics say that Target's response to the problem has been slow and cumbersome. Though Target reported the breach as soon as it was discovered to authorities, Target's response to customers has been frowned upon.

Critics accuse Target of hiding or delaying of information of the security breach to customers. The retail giant did not release information about the security breach right away, instead it leaked out to the general public and was picked up by news agencies.

Target’s call centers have been overwhelmed with millions of concerned customers calling to find out more about the Target security breach. Many say they never got through. The long wait times and recorded messages have frustrated shoppers.

Their website has buried information about the security hack behind the front page and down several levels of text. 

Angry consumers have hammered their official Facebook page, expressing their rage and frustration.

Target's 2nd Email sent Dec 23rd, 2013 About The Target Security Breach

Target Security Breach Fallout

One person has stated that they have been a victim of credit card fraud, and they believe that it was linked to their use of Target’s POS terminals during the time credit cards were at risk. 

Being so close to the holidays, the hack could have hurt consumer confidence, causing a significant drop in holiday spending at the stores. It is not yet clear whether this has happened or not, but there is no doubt that the timing of this security loophole could not have been worse.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel released information, and included, “For extra assurance, we will offer free credit monitoring services for everyone impacted. We’ll be in touch with you soon on how and where to access the service.”

It is unlikely that the breach will shut down the consumer confidence in Target. Credit card fraud is a global problem, costing over $11 billion dollars in 2012. Shoppers understand that they happen, even to retail stores with state-of-the-art security like Target. If anything should be learned from the great Target security breach of 2013, it is that retailers need have a team respond quickly to customer concerns and put out public relations fires quickly.


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Target Security Breach

Lawrence Tam

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spooon · December 26, 2013 at 9:03 am

Gail McMasters i for sure wouldn’t use debit cards…

Gail McMasters · December 26, 2013 at 7:28 am

It is scary when your information is supposed to be protected

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