TARGET BREACH: Security warning ignored before heist - KMSP-TV

TARGET BREACH: Security warning ignored before heist

Posted: Updated:

Target may have missed a chance to stop the massive data breach that hit customers during the busy holiday shopping season according to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek.

By all accounts, it looks like Target took its security seriously. Mark Lanterman, CEO and chief technology officer of Computer Forensic Services, told Fox 9 News the company spent more money on security than any other retailer he knows, which is why he says it's shocking the hackers were able to be in the system for a week without being noticed.

"This is world-class," he said. "This is used by every 3-letter government agency there is," Lanterman said.

According to the Bloomberg report, Target installed a malware detection tool to alert the company of any suspicious activity to its computer network six months before the breach. Lanterman said the $1.6 million system Target put in place to protect customers appeared to be working perfectly, and even warned the company when a breach took place.

"This is exactly like a tornado siren sounding and we just went about our business as usual," Lanterman explained.

A team of security specialists were monitoring the network and were alerted on Nov. 20th, but that information didn't come to light until Bloomberg Businessweek completed its 6-week investigation. 

Mike Riley was one of 4 reporters working the story, and through interviewing current and former Target employees, he learned a system called Fire Eye told Target about the malware invasion and even detailed what data was being stolen.

"Just within the last couple hours, they released a statement saying, in fact, the activity of the hackers was logged in the system and that their security team looked at it, evaluated it, and -- based on that evaluation -- decided not to act on it," Riley said.

Lanterman also interviewed those same sources at Target, and he said the Fire Eye system does have an automatic delete option when malware is detected; however, he said Target disabled the function so they could conduct internal investigations before deleting files themselves.

"These alerts should have been top priority," Riley said. "They were given and acknowledged and, for whatever reason, the Target security team ignored them."

The lesson to learn from the missed alert, Lanterman says, is that even the best security system in the world won't do any good if it's not monitored and its warnings are not heeded.

"In hindsight, they should have flipped the switch or they should have done their jobs," Lanterman said.

As a result of the breach, 40 million credit and debit card numbers and the personal information of 70-million customers was compromised. The breach caused Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob to resign in the aftermath.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Australian Model Posts Untouched Bikini Photo

    Australian Model Posts Untouched Bikini Photo

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:11 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:11:46 GMT
    25-year-old Robyn Lawley is embracing health and her curves. She posted this untouched and make-up free picture of herself in a bikini on Instagram.
    25-year-old Robyn Lawley is embracing health and her curves. She posted this untouched and make-up free picture of herself in a bikini on Instagram.
  • Minn. crash victim's 4H friends to show animals at Isanti fair

    Minn. crash victim's 4H friends to show animals at Isanti fair

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:50 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:50:12 GMT
    It is said that the true test of friendship is how many people come to help out a person in need, and if that's true, one 4H participant from Cambridge, Minn., just found out he has an entire fairground full.
    It is said that the true test of friendship is how many people come to help out a person in need, and if that's true, one 4H participant from Cambridge, Minn., just found out he has an entire fairground full.
  • Man shot, killed after confrontation on Metro Transit bus

    Man shot, killed after confrontation on Metro Transit bus

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:51 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:51:01 GMT
    Minneapolis police taped off several streets near 26th and Penn Avenue North on Thursday night after a confrontation on a Metro Transit bus ended in fatal gunfire just one day after city leaders announced a boost of officers.
    Minneapolis police taped off several streets near 26th and Penn Avenue North on Thursday night after a confrontation on a Metro Transit bus ended in fatal gunfire just one day after city leaders announced a boost of officers.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices