Target stores across the U.S. were hacked and the information of 40 million credit and debit cards were stolen. PHOTO: Jay Reed
Target, one of the nation’s most popular big box stores was hacked during its busiest time of the year. Thieves managed to get every credit card number that was swiped in an American Target store from November 27th to December 15th. How massive was this breach of Target’s credit card security? Here are five statistics that tell the story:
1. 40 million credit and debit cards stolen
First of all, 40 million people shopped at Target in an 18 day period? That’s more than 1 in 8 Americans! Granted there are probably several million repeat customers in there, but the number discounts anyone who paid with cash. Regardless, the hackers successfully stole the credit card and debit card information of 40 million customers. Yikes.
2. 1,797 Target stores hacked
That would be all of them in the United States. Not sure if this is more or less mind-boggling than the 40 million number, but it shows that the breach of Target’s security was complete. We’re still waiting to hear if Target’s 124 stores in Canada were also breached.
3. 0 online purchases hacked
Some good news: the Target security breach does not extend to those who shopped online. Just one more reason that Cyber Monday is superior to Black Friday.
4. 3rd Largest Retailer In The U.S.
Target, with $72 million in sales in 2012, according to Stores.org, is America’s third largest retailer. It goes to show that size does not always mean safety. While Target can afford a large and sophisticated security team, they are also a major, um, target, for hackers looking to strike gold.
5. 2nd largest retail hack ever
The Target hack didn’t quite break the record, but it came close. The largest known security breach was in 2007, when hackers stole the credit card information of 45.7 million shoppers of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls over an 18 month period. While the Target hackers fell short of that number they were much more efficient: the Target hackers scored over 2 million credit and debit cards a day. If this is a sign of the future of hacking, that’s a reason to be frightened.