DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The scope of Target’s data breach is larger than anyone first realized and a cybersecurity expert says Target may be just one in a line of retailers to have been hacked during the holiday shopping season.
Hackers stole as many as 40 million credit card and debit card account numbers from Target customers who made purchases between Black Friday and December 15th.
On Wednesday Target sent out an email to customers. The letter from Target President Gregg Steinhafel stated, “Late last week, as a part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken.”
Target said an additional 70-million customers were affected.
When asked about how far back the stolen data was from, a spokesperson for Target told CBS11 News, “We don’t have details on the timeframe to share.”
Jessica Cabrera of Dallas was one of the millions of customers, who received the email from Target on Wednesday,
“It’s very scary,” she said. “They can simply swipe my check account and I would be without any money.”
Cybersecurity expert Keith Squires, President of Pathmaker Group in Colleyville, said the hackers who breached Target’s system used malware known as “Black POS” (point-of-sale).
He said anyone can buy it online for around $1,800.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other retailers that were also breached that we are going to find out about in the coming weeks,” he said.
When Target’s computers were attacked in late November, Squires said, most anti-virus software hadn’t caught up to the new malware.
He said the vulnerability of many of corporate retail systems would likely surprise most customers.
“It a dangerous world,” he said. “There are no guarantees anywhere.”
Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all of it guests who shopped at its stores.
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