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Target Hacked But Blow May Not Cut Deeply

Today, Target confirmed it is aware of unauthorized access to recent customer payment data that may have resulted in the theft of credit and debit card account information. Approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been hacked between November 27 and December 15, the company acknowledged.

In a research note, Standard & Poors suggested that Target could readily absorb any financial impact from the data breach, noting that TJX Cos., suffered a data incursion in 2007 that affected more than 45 million cards but that, while costing it about $170 million including investigative, legal and monitoring costs, had no substantial impact to sales.

Target stated that it alerted authorities and financial institutions immediately after learning of the unauthorized access. Among the retailer’s resulting actions, Target began partnering with a third-party forensics firm to investigate the incident, the retailer related. Target also is working with law enforcement and financial institutions, it added.

“Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests, and we have moved swiftly to address this issue so guests can shop with confidence,” Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement addressing the data breach. “We regret any inconvenience this may cause. We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.”