Department of Justice announced today they will be investigating the Target data breach. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, “The Department of Justice takes seriously reports of any data breach, particularly those involving personally identifiable or financial information, and looks into allegations that are brought to its attention.”
Holder admits that the Department of Justice will keep the specific matters of the investigation private, but they did want to confirm that they are serious about finding “perpetrators of these sorts of data breaches.”
According to reports released by Target, the Target security breach last month compromised up to 40 million debit and credit card numbers in the pre-Christmas data heist. Not only were the numbers compromised, hackers also managed to collected person information including email addresses, phone numbers, names and home addresses on another 70 million Target shoppers.
Since the breach was discovered, the retail giant has been working in conjunction with both the Department of Justice and the Secret Service.
Department of Justice and FBI says more cyber attacks are expected
Early this month the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also issued a warning to United States retailers. Not only was Target attacked, but there are at least twenty other known cases of security attacks which the FBI has found in the last year and continues to investigate.
Under investigation are efforts by hackers to use “memory-parsing” malware. According to a report by the FBI, this type of malware “infects point-of-sale (POS) systems, which include cash registers and credit-card swiping machines found in store checkout aisles.”
The FBI report does not offer retailers much hope or security. They claim that despite continued efforts to stop the attacks and increased law enforcement efforts, this type of malware is likely to continue to exist and its use to grow in the short-term.
Why is this crime growing? According to the FBI, not only is malware affordable and easily accessed in underground forums, hackers can make huge profits from hacking into retail POS systems in the United States.
“The high dollar value gained from some of these compromises can encourage intruders to develop high sophistication methodologies, as well as incorporate mechanisms for the actors to remain undetected,” the report said.
What is being done to stop attacks?
Efforts to notify retail stores continues, and executives are listening. According to reports, after the Target attack last month, retail, credit card and bank industry executives have increased their security efforts and have become “increasingly concerned about the security of payment card networks.”
Not only was Target targeted, but Neiman Marcus also confirmed their system was attacked along with other retail stores. In the Neiman Marcus attack 1.1 million customer cards were exposed by a data breach from July 16 to October 30 last year.
Efforts to combat security breaches have been made at the retail level, but also by the United States Secret Service and the FBI. The Secret Service is the primary lead to investigate the breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus, but in some cases the Department of Justice may be called in to assist.
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