TARGET BREACH: All stores to use smart-chip readers by Sept. - KMSP-TV

TARGET BREACH: All stores to use smart-chip readers by Sept.

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In the wake of the massive data breach that compromised the credit and debit card numbers of millions of customers, Minneapolis-based Target will install chip-enable card readers in all stores by September.

Already, the retailer has installed 10,000 devices in 325 stores nationwide, but the accelerated schedule announced Wednesday in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal aims to have all stores outfitted six months ahead of the original deadline.

Additionally, Target plans to begin using chip-enabled cards, which contain a tiny microprocessor that encrypts transaction data shared with the sales terminals, by early 2015 instead of mid-year. That technology, which is already used in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, eradicates the possibility of creating a counterfeit card even if thieves are able to access the point-of-sale data.


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As Target works to regain customer confidence, company officials are also coming clean before federal lawmakers. On Wednesday, Target CFO John Mulligan testified before a U.S. Senate committee following a government report that revealed Target failed to respond to "multiple warnings" the company's network was about to be hacked.

"It's my understanding that we did have proper segmentation in place," Mulligan said when asked whether Target failed to adequately monitor its computer network.

Mulligan would not admit complete failure; however, he did admit that poor vendor security was a factor in the massive data breach -- one of the largest in history.

Yet, the Senate's "kill chain" analysis of the 2013 breach slams the company for failing to react after receiving multiple warnings that cyber criminals were poised to attack. Mulligan, who admitted to reading the report the night before the hearing, said that failure remains under investigation.

"In particular, we are focused on what information we had that could have alerted us to the breach earlier -- whether we had the right personnel in the right positions and ensuring that decisions made to operational and security matters were sound," Mulligan said.

While Target focuses on why the breach happened, industry and government leaders are also looking toward prevention. Several representatives of the financial industry spoke in favor of keeping the entire industry on the same technological page in order to keep up with the crooks.

"As the criminals improve their technology, we have to improve ours as well," Ellen Richey, of VISA, said. "The key is to work together to defeat our common enemy."

The group of financial industry representatives also wants the government to establish data security guidelines, possibly even a safe harbor for companies to share information with each other.

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