Target announced today that there was a breach in their credit card security last month, and that the criminals gained access to customers' information the day before Thanksgiving and maintained it until December 15.
The company released a statement through their website, saying they have identified the issue and are working with law enforcement officials. However, up to 40 million customers may be affected.
“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. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Target. “We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.”
Customers who shopped online aren't affected, the company says, as the breach was only within their POS, or "point of sale", systems. However, because those responsible hacked into the system on November 27, they had access to credit card numbers, expiration dates, security codes, and customer names throughout Black Friday and into the busiest time of the year for retail.
Target is urging all customers to check their bank statements carefully to look for any unauthorized purchases and to notify their banks immediately if anything odd pops up. It's possible, according to Krebs On Security, that the thieves were able to access debit data as well, and if PIN numbers were stolen, they might be able to withdraw cash from ATMs using reproduced cards.
Image via Target
Hat tip to Gawker