By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A news article Saturday puts the blame for the 100 million plus credit card breach squarely on the Target bullseye.

The story in the New York Times said hackers trolling for vulnerable retailers found an easy target (pun intended), in the Minneapolis-based company. The article said “criminals discovered that Target’s systems were astonishingly open, lacking the virtual walls found in secure networks like banks.”

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The story goes on to portray Target as oblivious of the massive fraud until the Secret Service alerted them. A week before Target went public with the breach, one bank, JP Morgan Chase, was already notifying customers about fraudulent charges made with cards used at Target. The obvious implication was that Target Corporation, the vehicle for the theft of millions of costumers’ information, was unable to detect the fraud even though the government and a leading financial institution were able to put the pieces together.

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While Target’s statements in the aftermath of the breach have put the blame on wily cyber thieves and even credit card companies, Target it appears has not taken the basic cyber security precautions that others U.S. companies do. In response to the New York Times article, Target’s CEO Greg Steinhafel released yet another statement saying he ‘was devastated” by the breach and determined “to get to the bottom of it.” The “bottom of it” may in fact lie with Target’s own systems.

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Hopefully Target is recovering from being devastated, (it wasn’t just Mr. Steinhaffel, fourth quarter sales were down 2 percent), and realizing that a company that handles millions of Americans accounts needs the utmost in firewall protections if it expects to keep customers and shareholders not only happy but protected.

Esme Murphy