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Vendor in Pennsylvania Could Have Been the Gateway for Target Data Breach

TMCnet Feature

February 12, 2014

Vendor in Pennsylvania Could Have Been the Gateway for Target Data Breach

By Frank Griffin
TMCnet Contributing Writer

The security breach target reported in December of 2013 is still continuing to be investigated by authorities. The latest findings in the case was reported last week when a Pennsylvania heating and refrigeration company, Fazio Mechanical Services Inc., a contractor that does business with Target (News - Alert), announced it was the victim of a cyber-attack. The company is part of a US Secret Service investigation linking it to the Target data breach. The result of that attack has resulted in the information of more than 40 million debit and credit cards and many as many as 70 million target customers possibly being compromised.

The owner of the Pennsylvania company stated they are cooperating with the Secret Service and Target in order to find out how the attack was perpetrated, and to take proactive measures to reduce the chances of it happening again.

The company has been the target (no pun intended) of misinformation on the Internet about the service it provided the retail chain and its 1,800 stores around the country. According to these allegations it is believed it monitored the heating, cooling and refrigeration remotely, which could be a gateway to an attack if these allegations are true.

But the owner of the company stated the data connection with Target was only for electronic billing, contract submission, and project management.

The rumors have some basis because Target has claimed that hackers broke into its network by first accessing the computers of one of its vendors. By launching the attack during the busy holiday season the hackers were able to steal the names, email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of the millions of customers from the retailer.

This security breach and many others like it highlight the increasing danger organizations around the world face from criminal organizations with very sophisticated attacks. The success of this attack can't be accredited only to the hackers, because many different failsafe measures have to have gone wrong in order for them to access so much information.

Protecting the network of an organization requires a comprehensive approach with strict IT security governance that is followed and routinely updated in order to ensure every asset is protected at all times. Without these measures we will be hearing of more security breaches with even bigger losses to the organization as well as the customers that purchase their services and products.

As a result of the Target breach, the Consumer Bankers Association reported its members have replaced over 17.2 million debit and credit cards at a cost of more than $172 million.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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