Report: Phishing Emails Led To Target Security Breach
Target Corporation was reportedly the recipient of malware-laced phishing emails that infiltrated its computer network and caused the recent security breach.
The phishing emails appeared to come from Fazio Mechanical, a Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania-based company that installed refrigeration systems for Target.
Hackers used Fazio Mechanical’s credentials to send fake emails under the pretense of accessing Target’s network “exclusively for electronic billing, contract submission, and project management,” according to cyber security journalist Brian Krebs, who broke the initial news about Target’s breach.
Krebs cited unnamed sources who said that the malware could be the password-stealing bot program called Citadel, but added that he could not confirm that information with Fazio Mechanical or Target.
Target first publicly confirmed the data breach on December 19, when it announced that 40 million customers’ names and credit or debit card information had been stolen. On December 27, Target admitted that those cards’ personal identification numbers were also exposed. Then, on January 10, the company said that up to 70 million customers’ mailing addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses were also uncovered.
Earlier this month, Target’s chief financial officer John Mulligan said that the malware, which infiltrated the retailer’s point of sale system, remained on a select number of registers for three days after the company initially said it had eradicated the problem. Those registers were disconnected from the network, therefore, not treated with malware removal software.
The Minneapolis-based retailer has since said it will expedite a “smart card technology” system (technology that contains a tiny microprocessor chip that encrypts transaction data) to reduce future security threats.