We Must Adopt Bitcoin: 10 Largest Data Breaches in Recent History (Approx. 345 Million Records Stolen), Bank Settlements ($50 Billion), Credit Card Settlements ($6 Billion)
Approx. 345 Million Records Stolen
Bank Mortgage Fraud Settlements ($50 Billion)
Credit Card Surcharge Settlements ($6 Billion)
10. March 17th, 2008
Hannaford Bros. Supermarket Chain (Portland, ME)
4.2 million credit card numbers and debit card numbers are compromised when malware is loaded on the servers of 300 stores. This results in 2,000 known cases of fraud and affects all 165 stores in the Northeast, 106 stores in Florida, and a smaller number of independent grocery stores.
9. January 6th, 2009
CheckFree Corporation (Atlanta, GA)
5 million records are potentially affected when hackers take control over the company’s Internet domain and redirect customer traffic to a malicious web site that tries to install malware in individuals’ computers. While the company estimated 160,000 customers were initially exposed, CheckFree took precautions to warn additional customers since they operated bill payment services in a number of other financial institutions.
8. September 14th, 2007
TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (Omaha, NE)
Contact information for 6.3 million customers (names, email, phone, home addresses, and possible Social Security numbers) is exposed when the company’s database is hacked
7. July 3rd, 2007
Fidelity National Information Services (Certegy Check Services Inc.) (Jacksonville, FL)
A database analyst at the company steals customer records impacting 8.3 million total records containing credit card numbers, bank accounts, and other personal information.
6. March 26th, 2008
Bank of New York Mellon (Pittsburgh, PA)
As many as 12.5 million customer records containing personal information including names, Social Security numbers, and possibly bank account numbers, are affected when the company loses a box of computer data tapes that were in transit to a storage facility.
5. May 22nd, 2006
U.S. Dept of Veteran’s Affairs (Washington, DC)
At least 17.5 million veterans were put at risk when information was stolen from a VA employee’s home. The information, including names, Social Security numbers, date of birth, and some phone numbers and addresses, was held on a laptop and storage device.
4. June 16th, 2005
CardSystems (Tucson, AZ)
A security breach at a third-party processor of payment card transactions potentially impacts over 40 million credit card accounts, containing names, card numbers, and card security codes.
3. January 17th, 2007
TJ Stores (TJX) (Framingham, MA)
A security breach into its computer systems that process and store customer transactions compromised 45.7 million credit and debit card account numbers. While the company reported these numbers, court filings in a case brought by banks stated that the actual number of accounts affected by the thefts topped 94 million.
2. October 2nd, 2009
U.S. Military Veterans
When a defective hard drive was sent for repair and recycling before destroying sensitive data, nearly 76 million records dating back to 1972 were impacted. These records contained personal, financially sensitive information, including Social Security numbers.
1. January 20th, 2009
Heartland Payment Systems
A malicious software compromised card data across the company network impacting more than 130 million credit card and debit card numbers from Heartland and Hannaford.
(Maybe They Should Be Accepting Bitcoin?)
Target Now Says 110 Million People Hit in Data Breach
Previous Update Had 40 Million Accounts Hit; Retailer Says News Hurt Holiday Sales
Target Corp. said Friday that up to 110 million individuals had their personal information stolen as part of the retailer's recent data breach, indicating a far greater impact than previously revealed.
The company said those 110 million people were separate from the approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts previously reported as compromised, though there was some overlap.
Target said the stolen personal information included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses. Still, the retailer stressed that the theft isn't a new breach but was uncovered as part of its continuing investigation.
The retailer also said Friday that news of the breach hurt its holiday sales, which were going better than expected before the company disclosed the breach on Dec. 19.
The company had said the data breach, which ran from Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, involved malicious software installed in the systems where cards are swiped at cash registers. In late December, the company added that encrypted debt card PIN data also was stolen in the breach.
Target said Friday that much of the data stolen is "partial in nature," but in the cases where Target has an email address, the company will attempt to contact affected individuals with tips for guarding against consumer scams and other information.
"I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken, and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this," Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said.
Target added that consumers will have "zero liability" for the costs of any fraudulent charges arising from the breach.
The retailer Friday also lowered its outlook for the fourth quarter, projecting adjusted per-share earnings in its U.S. segment of $1.20 to $1.30, down from the prior guidance of $1.50 to $1.60. It now expects same-store sales to drop about 2.5%, versus its prior view of flat sales.
Target said its sales for the quarter were "meaningfully weaker-than-expected" since the data breach was disclosed, but sales have shown improvement in recent days. Before the announcement, sales had been stronger than expected, the company said.
The retailer added that it wasn't able to provide an update to its fourth-quarter unadjusted earnings guidance but that the period may include charges related to the data breach.
Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan said the company's top priority now in light of the breach is "taking care of our guests and helping them feel confident in shopping at Target." He added that the retailer is "disappointed" in its 2013 performance.
Target, along with the Secret Service, the U.S. Justice Department, and a forensic unit of Verizon Communications Inc. continue to investigate the breach.
The breach came at a difficult time for Target, which at its last earnings report in November said it was expecting mostly flat sales through the critical holiday period. In an effort to lure customers back to stores after the breach, Target offered a 10% discount to U.S. shoppers during the last weekend before Christmas.
Target Corp. was hit by an extensive theft of its customers' credit-card and debit-card data over the busy Black Friday weekend, a brazen breach of the major retailer's information security.
The company early Thursday confirmed a data breach may have affected about 40 million credit- and debit-card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Target said it alerted authorities and financial institutions immediately after it found out about the unauthorized access. It added that it is partnering with a forensics firm to conduct an investigation into the incident.
"We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice," said Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel in a statement.
The Secret Service is probing a breach of Target's credit-card reading devices.
Hello? Is this Target – the giant retail store chain? Yes, my name is Bitcoin – I come from the future. I bring you good news! In the future your current problems will go away. It was inevitable really, I just wanted you to rest easy knowing that you played an important role for giving the world one of the first real-world use cases for using Bitcoin instead of credit cards for local merchants.
You remember that incident that happened a few months back? Yes, I’m sure you still don’t want to talk about it, but it’s important for the world to understand that your current misery is going to act as a reference point for all other major retailers in a relatively short amount of time.
I’m guessing you usually spend quite a bit of your budget in security related matters. You must protect your servers and networks against hackers and viruses, etc. Your embarrassing security breach was the worst kind which involved the possibility of your customers being “inconvenienced” with having to replace credit cards with new ones and the possible loss of trust. Yes, I’m sure that will sting for a while. You already know those banks that had to work overtime to handle this mess on their end with replacing cards and reaching out to their customers will eventually be coming to collect those costs from you. That’s going to be expensive. Start preparing yourself for the next earning session and take a deep breath before you speak of the figure your stockholders use to gage your performance compared to the previous year…“same store sales”. They will brace for it – but it will still sting. The slim 5% or less net profit margins that are customary in the retail industry aren’t going to be enough this round. One day the panic that is ringing through your company will eventually subside.
You see Bitcoin was barely gaining momentum enough to be on the radar for many large companies in 2013. It certainly wasn’t your fault that you were chosen to be the example. You will eventually come around to the fact that you wished Bitcoin had started a few years earlier while you could have taken advantage of it. Because accepting it meant you had your cash right away and had zero liability for keeping your customer banking data private. Your customers didn’t have to worry about their private banking information being sold on the black market to the highest bidders. It would have saved you all of this embarrassment, loss of sales, security systems revamp and evaluation, court costs and more.
Well enough with the bad news. Now I bring you hope.
In 2013 your customers didn’t yet realize the advantage that paying with digital currency would protect their privacy and stop their risk to identity theft. But fear not – they’ll come around to it. It’s natural law. Water finds the path of least resistance as everything in life does. Having to give out credit card information and cvc codes, even debit PIN numbers that get compromised certainly qualifies as “resistance” doesn’t it? You helped bring in a new era that changed how the world thought about money. In hindsight we can now see how quaint credit cards were.
Keep your chin up Target. You took one for the team and played an important part for the world that got an important wake up call because of what you went through. The Bitcoin network is coming to the rescue. Now don’t get too excited, the future is not set. I am only one of your possible paths. But this much is certain, when people began to ask the important question about the benefits of paying local merchants with Bitcoin they will think of you. You’ve given the world a real and important use-case of “identity protection”. For that, bitcoin thanks you.
Neiman Marcus Breach Appears Smaller Than Target's
Fewer Than One Million Cards May Have Been Compromised
A credit card security breach that occurred over the holiday shopping season at Neiman Marcus Inc. appears so far to be smaller than the massive attack that compromised tens of millions of credit and debit cards at Target Corp. last month, according to people familiar with details of the incident.
Fewer than one million cards belonging to people who shopped at the luxury retailer may have been compromised, the people said. That compares with the much bigger scale of the attack at Target, which says data for 40 million credit or debit card accounts was stolen, as well as personal data like emails and home addresses for 70 million people.
Neiman Marcus said late Friday that the card information of some of its customers may have been stolen in a cyberattack but that it was unclear how many had been affected.
The Dallas-based luxury retailer said Friday it was informed in mid-December by its credit card processor of possible unauthorized charges on the accounts of some people who had shopped at its stores. Neiman Marcus said it investigated the matter and learned Jan. 1 that it had been the victim of an attack.
A Neiman Marcus spokeswoman declined to comment further Saturday, saying the company is still investigating the incident. The company said Friday that it had begun to contain the intrusion and had "taken significant steps to further enhance information security."
Regardless of the scale, the emergence of another holiday hacking incident is likely to rattle shoppers who have been increasingly relying on plastic over cash and checks. Consumers aren't responsible for unauthorized purchases that are made on their cards.
One executive in the card-security industry said his clients were nervous that a second well-known retailer had disclosed a security breach just weeks after Target had done the same.
The scope of the Neiman Marcus attack could grow in coming weeks as the retailer pursues its investigation. Although Target initially said 40 million credit and debit accounts had been exposed, the company said Friday that personal information of as many as 70 million people may have fallen victim to hackers.
Still, people within the card industry noted that small-scale security breaches are extremely common. They often aren't even disclosed by merchants or financial institutions, and consumers aren't aware or notified that they have occurred.
The Neiman Marcus breach may have glided under the radar if the Target incident hadn't occurred, card-industry experts said.
The U.S. Secret Service, which has federal jurisdiction over credit-card fraud, is investigating both incidents. The retailers also are working with independent forensic-investigation companies.
It isn't clear if there is any connection between the two incidents. Target has said that malicious software was used to access the card data, but Neiman Marcus hasn't disclosed the nature of its attack. The company, like Target, did say the attack appeared only to affect cards used in stores and not those used online.
It wasn't clear if banks will issue new plastic to Neiman Marcus shoppers whose card information may have been stolen. Banks often don't reissue cards unless there are clear signs that fraud has occurred, partly because it is expensive to do so.
J.P. Morgan Chase and Co., however, didn't take such chances with the Target breach. The New York bank has replaced as many as two million debit cards to its bank customers who shopped at Target over the two-week period in which their information may have been exposed.
The Secret Service is investigating the breach, a spokesman said, but wouldn't discuss details of the incident while the investigation is ongoing. Secret Service often investigates significant hacks of credit-card data, as part of its mission is to safeguard the country's financial infrastructure and payment systems.
The discount chain has 1,797 stores in the U.S. and another 124 in Canada.
The apparent breach occurred during the period when Americans kick off their holiday shopping and store traffic is around its highest of the year. Retailers try to lure shoppers to stores on Black Friday with "door buster" deals and overnight hours that often draw big crowds. The breach may have gone into the Monday after Thanksgiving, one of the people said.
The thieves gained access to data that is stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of the credit and debit cards, according to the people familiar with the breach. The stripe contains data that is valuable for making counterfeit cards, such as account numbers and expiration dates, but it wasn't immediately known which data was vulnerable.
One of the biggest incidents to hit the industry took place in 2007, when thieves stole card numbers and personal data on up to 90 million cards belonging to people who had shopped at stores owned by TJX Cos., parent of T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods and other discount chains.
One of the most recent big breaches occurred last year at Global Payments Inc., an Atlanta-based company that processes card transactions on behalf of merchants and banks. In that case, the company disclosed that thieves were believed to have stolen data from up to 1.5 million card accounts.
According to a new Bloomberg poll, 42% of Americans know that bitcoin is a digital currency.
However, the majority of the US residents quizzed still don’t know what bitcoin actually is.
Those who were familiar with the cryptocurrency said they were still unsure what to make of it. In fact, many who were asked had questions for the pollsters too.
Those that do know, don’t know much
Of the people who had heard of bitcoin, some were hesitant to use it themselves, either in a business or personal capacity.
Olga Ruff, a 62-year-old businesswoman, said she was unlikely to start accepting bitcoin in her small jewellery shop. “What use would it be for me?” she said, adding: “I’m not sure what the value of it is, and what I’d be able to exchange it for.”
Jeremy Labadie, an internet security specialist, said he would have to consider his options further before making a purchase: “I don’t necessarily know if it’s something I would think about using.”
However Labadie also admitted that he had considered buying some bitcoins as a long-term investment.
Other respondents said they heard about bitcoin through mainstream news coverage. In turn, this had given them an idea of the currency’s drawbacks as well as bitcoin-related scams and crimes.
No Clear Position On Regulation
The most interesting part of the poll involved those who identified bitcoin correctly.
When these participants were asked whether the digital currency should remain unregulated, they were split down the middle.
The majority, 46%, said they favour bitcoin regulation. However, 39% said bitcoin should not be regulated. The remaining 16% were unsure.
It should be noted that government regulation of certain industries is a hotly debated topic in American politics, hence it tends to be controversial and opinions may be split along party lines (for example, small government versus big government).
Bitcoin: Xbox Game or iPhone App?
More than 1,000 people took part in the poll and some answers were rather amusing.
A total of 46% said they do not know what bitcoin is. Suprisingly, 6% of participants thought bitcoin was an Xbox game, while another 6% were convinced it was an iOS app on the iPhone.
Unsurprisingly, the poll found that people under the age of 35 were more likely to know a thing or two about bitcoin. Additionally, they were also more likely to be in favour of keeping it unregulated.
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