Inside This Issue - News
Target aims to thwart cybertheft
February 10th, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – In the wake of the massive data breach that hit Target Corp. during the holiday shopping season, the company’s chief financial officer says the discounter is speeding up a $100 million program to implement the use of chip-enabled smartcards to protect against cybertheft.
In an opinion piece earlier this month in The Hill newspaper on the eve of his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, CFO John Mulligan said that Target’s goal was to have the technology in place by early 2015, more than six months ahead of schedule.
The adoption of chip-enabled cards would be "one step American businesses could now take that would dramatically improve the security of all credit and debit cards," Mulligan wrote.
The enhanced smartcards contain tiny microprocessor chips that encrypt personal data shared with sales terminals used by merchants. Stolen smartcard numbers would be useless without the chip, Mulligan said, noting that Target has been working for years to adopt the technology and has invested nearly $100 million into the development of a new system.
In the cybertheft that hit Target, more than 40 million credit and debit card records were stolen, along with 70 million other records with customer information.
The data breach led to weaker-than-expected sales over the past two months and prompted Target to say in late January that it would eliminate 475 jobs at its headquarters here and not fill 700 open positions worldwide.
"We believe these decisions, while difficult, are the right actions as we continue to focus on transforming our business," a Target spokeswoman said.