Expoilts & Vulnerabilities

Target hacked: 40 million card accounts breached

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Target is grappling with a data security nightmare that threatens to drive off holiday shoppers during the company’s busiest time of year.

The nation’s second largest discounter said Thursday that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts was stolen as part of a breach that began over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The data theft marks the second largest credit card breach in the U.S. after retailer TJX announced in 2007 that at least 45.7 million credit and debit card users were exposed to credit card fraud.

Target’s acknowledgement came a day after news reports surfaced that the discounter was investigating a breach.

The chain said customers who made purchases by swiping their cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

The data breach did not affect online purchases, the company said.

The stolen information included Target store brand cards and major card brands such as Visa and MasterCard.

The Minneapolis company, which has 1,797 stores in the U.S. and 124 in Canada, said it immediately told authorities and financial institutions once it became aware of the breach on Dec. 15. The company is teaming with a third-party forensics firm to investigate and prevent future breaches.

The breach is the latest in a series of technology crises for Target. The company faced tough criticism in late 2011 after it drummed up hype around its offerings from Italian designer Missoni only to see its website crash. The site was down most of the day the designer’s collection launched. The company angered customers further with numerous online delays for products and even order cancellations.

But the credit card breach poses an even more serious problem for Target and threatens to scare away shoppers who worry about the safety of their personal data.

“A data breach is of itself a huge reputational issue,” said Jeremy Robinson-Leon, a principal at Group Gordon, a corporate and crisis public relations firm. He noted that Target needs to send the message that it’s rectifying the problem and working with customers to answer questions. He believes Target should have acknowledged the problem on Wednesday rather than waiting until early Thursday.

“This is close to the worst time to have it happen,” Robinson-Leon said. “If I am a Target customer, I think I would be much more likely to go to a competitor over the next few days, rather than risk the potential to have my information be compromised.”
Target advised customers on Thursday to check their statements carefully. Those who see suspicious charges on the cards should report it to their credit card companies and call Target at 866-852-8680. Cases of identity theft can also be reported to law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission.

“Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement Thursday.

Many displeased Target customers left angry comments on the company’s Facebook page. Some threatened to stop shopping at the store. Many customers complained they couldn’t get through to the call center and couldn’t get on Target’s branded credit card website. Target apologized on its Facebook page and said it is “working hard” to resolve the issue and is adding more workers to field the calls and help solve website issues.

Christopher Browning, 23 of Chesterfield, Va., said was the victim of credit card fraud earlier this week and he believes it was tied to a purchase he made at Target with his Visa card on Black Friday. However, he called Visa Thursday and the card issuer couldn’t confirm. He says he hasn’t been able to get through Target’s call center.

On Monday, Browning received a call from his bank’s anti-fraud unit saying that there were two attempts to use his credit card in California — one at a casino in Tracey, Calif. for $8,000 and the other at a casino in Pacheco, for $3,000. Both occurred on Sunday and both were denied. He canceled his credit card and plans to use cash. Although Browning has no proof, he says he believes the fraud was tied to his Black Friday purchase at Target.

“I won’t shop at Target again until the people behind this theft are caught or the reasons for the breach are identified and fixed,” said Browning.

Brianna Byrnes, 22, of Kansas City, Mo., a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a call center worker, said she made a Target purchase during the affected period.

She said the situation made her “a little bit” nervous but was still planning to shop for toys at the retailer.

“I’ve never had anyone steal my identity. I guess it’s taking a risk.”

In Wednesday morning’s trading, Target’s stock dipped $1.15, or 1.8 percent, to $62.40.

The incident is particularly troublesome for Target because it has used its branded credit and debit cards as a marketing tool to lure shoppers with a 5 percent discount.

The company said during its earnings call in November that as of October some 20 percent of store customers have the Target branded cards. In fact, households that activate a Target-branded card have increased their spending at the store by about 50 percent on average, the company said.

“This is how Target is getting more customers in the stores,” said Brian Sozzi, CEO and Chief Equities Strategist. “It’s telling people to use the card. It’s been a big win. If they lose that trust, that person goes to Wal-Mart.”


International Institute of Cyber Security

Hackers rusos robaron datos de identificación de los 54 millones de ciudadanos turcos:

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Hackers rusos han incautado ‘datos de identificación porque los partidos políticos de Turquía y de la Comisión Suprema Electoral (YSK) comparten los votantes del país “54 millones de ciudadanos turcos información personal, un gerente prominente compañía de investigación ha dicho.

“He oído hablar de él. Los hackers en Rusia tienen números de ID de 54 millones de ciudadanos turcos, direcciones, nombres de padre “, el gerente general de la empresa de investigación de KONDA, Bekir Ağırdır, dijo la semana pasada en Ankara en una reunión para evaluar las próximas elecciones locales en el país, según un informe el portal de noticias en línea T24.

Ağırdır también dijo que algunas partes no tienen un sistema anti-virus, pero cargado de información todos los electores en línea y “en dos horas hackers descargado toda la información.”

Ana Bella
Instituto Internacional de Seguridad Cibernética
International Institute of Cyber Security


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Microsoft has confirmed they will be issuing a patch for a TIFF zero-day flaw in its GDI+ graphics component that is known to have been actively exploited in targeted attacks using tainted Word documents sent by to victims via email since early November.

“This is yet another TIFF exploit. The TIFF format seems all but irrelevant to end users but, hardly a month which passes without a CVE stemming from TIFF parsing,” said Craig Young, a vulnerability researcher for Tripwire.

The zero-day flaw is present in many older versions of Microsoft products, such as Windows Vista, Windows Server and Office 2003 through 2010, and security experts believe some of those older versions should be retired.

“Microsoft needs to become more aggressive with their end of life policies. Users should not still be running Office 2003, Office 2007, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003,” Reguly said. If you removed that software, this zero-day would not exist. If it’s more than 5 years old, it’s probably time to end support.”

Microsoft had released a temporary Fix it workaround that would block the attack by changing the configuration on the computer to prevent the rendering of the vulnerable graphic format, but it does not mitigate the vulnerability itself.

Not on the patch list for this week is a zero-day vulnerability in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 is being actively exploited in the wild in order to bypass the sandbox in unpatched versions of Adobe Reader 9.5.4, 10.1.6, 11.0.02 and prior on Windows XP SP3.

Microsoft stated that they plan to mitigate the vulnerability either with a Patch Tuesday release or by way of an an out-of-cycle security update, depending on the results of their investigation, and it now appears that the fix will pushed off until next year.

Users are encouraged to upgrade from the archaic Windows XP operating system in favor of Windows 7 or 8, and should ensure they are running the latest versions of Adobe Reader.