Target says debit card PINs are safe after data security breach
TARGET CORP. said Friday that its customers' debit card PINs are safe after a reported security breach compromised about 40 million debit and credit cards swiped at the chain retailer between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/TIM BOYLE
By Leslie Patton and Lindsey Rupp Bloomberg News
CHICAGO – Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount chain, said that customers’ debit card personal identification numbers are safe after a computer security breach exposed data on 40 million debit and credit cards.
“PIN numbers are safe and secure,” Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based Target, said in an email on Friday. While encrypted data was stolen, the PIN information “remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems,” she said.
“The PIN information is encrypted within Target’s systems and can only be decrypted when it is received by our external, independent payment processor,” she said.
The retailer said Dec. 19 that security for the cards may have been breached between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 as they made purchases in stores. While the chain said it had identified and resolved the issue, the compromise occurred during the most important period of the year for retailers and with shoppers already showing reluctance to spend. Even before the incident, Target had been struggling to boost sales and earnings.
The retailer’s third-quarter profit trailed analysts’ estimates as U.S. shoppers held back and expansion into Canada dragged on earnings, sending net income down 46 percent from a year earlier.
Target slipped 0.4 percent to $62.25 at 12:29 p.m. in New York. The shares have gained 5.6 percent this year through the close of trading yesterday, compared with a 29 percent increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.