Data Breach: Did Target Know?

April 2nd, 2014 by Alex Bach


By this point most of us are pretty familiar with the hacking situation mega-retailer Target faced at the end of 2013. With upwards of 70 million customer’s credit card information compromised, Target has spent most of 2014 trying to make amends and figure out how this all happened. Well, it appears there may have been some signs–and those signs went ignored.

Target, just like the rest of us, was vulnerable to attacks and failed to act when their suspicions were raised. Credit Report Problems would hope that you’d use this horror story as a lesson on making sure you’re prepared against data and identity theft.  To learn more about how to protect yourself and your data read our prevention guide.

According to a recent report by the New York Times, Target’s computer security team may have seen signs of the hackers before the assault was launched. The report goes on to say that Target had a new computer security system from FireEye installed prior to the malware attack. Contrary to recent beliefs among the public that the hackers had stealthily slipped past Target’s firewalls and protective services, it appears FireEye was a diligent sentinel and not only saw the suspicious activity but reported it as well. Unfortunately, those reports went unheeded.

FireEye’s software apparently alerted the retailer’s security team several times about the potential threat but, with the numerous threats that occur weekly on a company of that size, the malware was brushed off and the threat was downgraded.

Since the attacks Target’s CIO, Beth Jacobs, who held the company’s computer security in her purview, resigned, the only executive thus far to leave Target after the breach.  Of course, hindsight bias always has 20/20 vision and some sweet green-tinted aviators with which to view the event, but what’s additionally concerning is that perhaps other attacks could have been prevented. Neiman Marcus and Michaels suffered attacks from the same hackers and the same malware.  And while you couldn’t blame one or the other for failing to bust the hackers, if they’d acted sooner and perhaps shared the information maybe the attacks wouldn’t have been so far reaching and damaging.

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