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TMCNet:  Known retailers victims of cyber attacks [Mehr News Agency (Iran)]

[January 12, 2014]

Known retailers victims of cyber attacks [Mehr News Agency (Iran)]

(Mehr News Agency (Iran) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TEHRAN, Jan. 12 (MNA) – Some well-known U.S. retailers' networks were breached over the holiday shopping season last year, but they were not the only ones. Smaller breaches on at least three other well-known U.S. retailers took place and were conducted using similar techniques as the one on Target, according to the people familiar with the attacks. Those breaches have yet to come to light. Also, similar breaches may have occurred earlier last year. The sources said that they involved retailers with outlets in malls, but declined to elaborate. They also said that while they suspect the perpetrators may be the same as those who launched the Target attack, they cannot be sure because they are still trying to find the culprits behind all of the security breaches. An investigation found that hackers stole the personal information of at least 70 million customers, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. Most states have laws that require companies to contact customers when certain personal information is compromised. In many cases the task of notification falls on the credit card issuer. Merchants are required to report breaches of personal information including social security numbers. It was not immediately clear if that was the case with the retailers who were attacked around the same time as Target. The sources who spoke to Reuters about the breaches said that investigators believe the attackers used similar techniques and pieces of malicious software to steal data from Target and other retailers. One of the pieces of malware they used was something known as a RAM scraper, or memory-parsing software, which enables cyber criminals to grab encrypted data by capturing it when it travels through the live memory of a computer, where it appears in plain text, the sources said. While the technology has been around for many years, its use has increased in recent years as retailers have improved their security, making it more difficult for hackers to obtain credit card data using other approaches. Visa Inc issued two alerts last year about a surge in cyber attacks on retailers that specifically warned about the threat from memory parsing malware. The alerts, published in April and August, provided retailers with technical details on how the attacks were launched and advice on thwarting them. It was not clear whether Target's security team had implemented the measures that Visa had recommended to mitigate the risks of being attacked. Yet a law enforcement source familiar with the breach said that even if the retailer had implemented those steps, the efforts may not have succeeded in stopping the attack. Investigators believe that the early series of attacks on retailers staged before late November were mostly used as trial attacks to help the hackers perfect new techniques they then used against Target, stealing payment cards at unprecedented speed. Reuters MNA END (c) 2014 Mehr News Agency Provided by Syndigate.info, an Albawaba.com company


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