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January 13, 2014

Target Breach Causing Industry to Re-Think Security Measures

A rash of data breaches in recent years is forcing retailers to rethink security standards.

In an interview with Reuters on Sunday, Mallory Duncan, general counsel of the National Retail Federation that represents a number of big box stores in the U.S., said the federation isn’t shocked that security threats are on the rise.

The technology that exists in cards out there is 20th-century technology and we’ve got 21st-century hackers,” she said.

In the latest incident, more than 70-million Target shoppers were affected by a security breach during a 19-day span between Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

The company says credit and debit cards containing customers’ names, credit or debit numbers, expiration dates and three-digit security codes were accessible as a result of the incident which occurred between Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.

The federation hopes for changes to security policies going into the future to combat criminals looking to steal data from consumers.

One thing some retailers have already done is upgrade their payment systems to stop reading cards with magnet strips in favour of new cards that require customers to insert a chip and punch in a pin.

While thieves are still able to gather data from the cards, points out Reuters, it’s harder to reuse that information thanks to the chip technology.

The technology hasn’t caught on in the U.S. as quickly as the federation would have hoped. The breach at Target, however, has made an impact.

Target, for one, has said it intends to invest dollars to make “significant changes” to its security, although it’s not clear what kinds of measures it plans to implement.

Representatives from Walgreens and Bass Pro Shop have also come forth to throw their support behind heightened security. The two companies spoke out at a recent conference held in New York, attended by more than 29,000 industry workers.

Reuters reports losses to fraud account for five cents of every $100 spent by consumers, and other means of data theft, like identity, is on the rise. 


Megan Abraham is a staff writer for SiteProNews.