Retailer data breach trend not likely to end soon

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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Three major retail chains have recently admitted being victims of massive data breaches that compromised sensitive data from over 100 million customers. Sadly, though, Target, Nieman-Marcus, and Michael’s are just the beginning of a trend that isn’t likely to fade away any time soon.

Verizon's annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) from May of 2013 found that 24 percent of the confirmed data breaches in 2012 affected the retail and restaurant sector—second only to the financial sector. In all, there were 156 confirmed data breaches in the retail and food services industries. 

In all three of the recent high-profile cases, attackers were apparently able to plant malware on point-of-sale (PoS) systems to gather credit card information from unsuspecting shoppers. The Target breach affected as many as 110 million customers, Nieman Marcus 1.1 million, and the scope of the Michael’s breach is still a work in progress. There’s a very good chance other retailers have been compromised as well and just haven’t discovered it yet.

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