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Shoppers in danger after retailers are hacked

by HALEY MILLAN Editor-in-chief 

Target and Neiman Marcus were recently attacked by hackers who got away with up to 110 million customers payment information, including payment card numbers, names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

The breach in the security system was reported back in December, but now officials have acknowledged that credit and debit cards are not affected like previously believed; however, there may be some overlaps between the two systems.

IntelCrawler, a security firm, identified a 17-year-old Russian boy as the creator of the malware that was used in the cyber attacks. In an online report, it is believed that the author of the malware sold over 60 versions of the software to “cyber-criminals” in other countries.

The author is said to be “very well known” for malicious code in the underground marketplace. The author of the program is not behind the actual hacking of Target’s system. The hackers have not been identified; they tried out easy passwords to get into the retailer’s security. Retailers are now worried about copycats who may join in on the fraud.

As of now, there are no restrictions on the people who have access to the retail servers. During the upcoming time, more retailers may find out that they have had a breach in their security as well.

Senior Colleen Gernt says, “I think it is a real problem that in today’s world we depend too much on technology. There are always going to be people who can get around the system, and I don’t think all of our personal information is safe.”

Target found out about the information leak in late November/early December, which halted the ability of some people to use their bank and credit cards before the holiday season.

Other retailers in the US may have been targeted, and officials are asking retailers to acknowledge that they too might be a part of this terrible breach. Unidentified sources say three more major retailers have been attacked. Out of all of the companies attacked, most were retailers in the US, and 30 percent of attacks took place in other countries.

“I think there’s a problem in our security for all retail shops. If some people across the world can hack into our big stores here in America, we are going to have a lot of problems. It’s really sad for all of those people who had their information stolen,” says senior Viki Daninska.

Consumers are urged to check their bank accounts and information regularly, since there is no telling when their information may be used. On top of it all, consumers are worried that their card holder accounts will not be compromised, even though the companies have said they will not.

Risk Control Strategies CEO Paul Vollis said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, “The unfortunate part about this is that once the information is gone, it’s gone. The consumer is going to have to monitor not only their credit card statement, but from their credit bureau as well.”

After the incident, Target’s stock dropped; though it is still down, it is not a major drop. Target and the other retailers that have been affected may have a hard time gaining back the trust of the costumers that have been affected in these hacks.

Do you think Target is at fault following these hacks?

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