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Why that massive Target hack is good for consumers – and what you need to do to stay safe

Why that massive Target hack is good for consumers – and what you need to do to stay safe

Every week or two, we learn something new about the horrific data breach Target suffered late last year. If you recall, over Thanksgiving weekend the huge retailer got "pwned," as the hackers say, in one of the biggest data thefts in history. Hackers snatched the credit card numbers of some 40 million Target shoppers.

Then we learned that it was more than credit card numbers; the hackers had made off with the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of more than 70 million additional customers!

As the weeks went on, we found out that the hackers had stolen credentials from an employee at an air conditioning company Target contracted. Using those credentials, the hackers got a piece of malware into Target's system that grabbed credit card numbers right at the register.

Then it got worse. In early March, the company's chief information officer resigned. A week later, we saw why; Bloomberg Businessweek, in an in-depth story, reported that the company had the forethought to install some state-of-the-art anti-hacker software the year before the theft.

And then the company completely ignored the software's warnings. You saw how that turned out.

The breach has cost the company an enormous amount of money. Direct costs are said to be $60 million – just as of Feb. 1. Profits at the chain plunged during the Christmas shopping season. There are at least 100 lawsuits pending. And it's not over yet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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