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>>

  • IN CUSTODY: Officer shooting suspect Brian George Fitch Sr.

    IN CUSTODY: Officer shooting suspect Brian George Fitch Sr.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:07:28 GMT
    Fox 9 News is learning more about the suspect wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick, 47, during a traffic stop, and it turns out he was already a wanted man when that traffic stop began.

    Fox 9 News is learning more about the suspect wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick, 47, during a traffic stop, and it turns out he was already a wanted man when that traffic stop began.
  • SWAT team arrests suspected cop killer in St. Paul

    SWAT team arrests suspected cop killer in St. Paul

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:42:24 GMT
    On Wednesday night, dozens of officers -- including a SWAT team -- descended on Sycamore and Rice streets in St. Paul after a suspected cop killer apparently opened fire on officers and was shot multiple times.
    On Wednesday night, dozens of officers -- including a SWAT team -- descended on Sycamore and Rice streets in St. Paul after a suspected cop killer apparently opened fire on officers after escaping a neighborhood near the intersection of Baker and Livingston, where the car used in the crime was found.
  • Mendota Heights police officer shot in West St. Paul; suspect shot

    Mendota Heights police officer shot in West St. Paul; suspect shot

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:36 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:36:05 GMT

    A Mendota Heights police officer was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon during a traffic stop near Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West St. Paul, Fox 9 sources confirmed. Police arrested the suspect later Wednesday night.


    A Mendota Heights police officer was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon during a traffic stop near Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West St. Paul, Fox 9 sources confirmed. Police arrested the suspect later Wednesday night.


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