McAfee Tells the Story Behind Massive Target Credit Card Data Breach

McAfee Tells the Story Behind Massive Target Credit Card Data BreachAmerican multi-national cyber security expert McAfee has come up with valuable opinions on what may have caused the massive Target credit card data breach last December. The breach was so big that payment cards of at least 70 million customers got breached. Around 40 million cards got stolen and a major volume of them were made available in black market.

In its quarterly report released on Monday, the security expert said that the hacking gives indications of “coming-of-age” for black-market business that supports identity stealers and non-ethical hackers. This black-market industry enabled the hackers to not just plant a custom-made malware in the point-of-sales terminal of the retailer but also helped them to instantly sell the stolen credit card data of the victims. Such data was sold through “dark web”, an online back channel used by identity thieves to do illegal activities online.

McAfee’s chief technology officer Mike Fey said, “Retailers in general took this as a wake-up call. They saw an essentially off-the-shelf … piece of malware modified for a unique environment, which was Target. A lot of retailers assumed that if they don’t have a standard point-of-sale system, they were somehow safe. And I think Target showed them that’s not the case.”

McAfee is looking deeply into the dark web malware industry that triggered one of the biggest data breaches in the history of the United States of America. The security company also said that the hackers bought the malicious software from a community supporting cybercrimes. The malware was a kind of unsophisticated technology tailor-made especially to Target the retailer chain. The identity thieves had a good knowledge of the loopholes in the payment system of the retailer and took advantage of the same to realize the hacking attack.

The researchers at the security firm also discovered that the hackers not just breached the data but also put on sale the stolen credit cards. They sold the cards in the batches of one million to 4 million. Mr. Fey added that Target could have avoided the blunder had it adopted cost-effective security technology of today. He stated, “You take a look at the Target attack. That was defendable by technology that has been around. It didn’t require a new silver bullet.”

The chief information officer of the retailer chain resigned last week as the company has initiated steps to improve its defense against such attacks in future.


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