The Target hackers who managed to steal data from 40 million credit and debit cards may have gotten access to the personal identification numbers, or PINs, on the accounts as well, a senior bank official said anonymously, according to Reuters
A Target spokeswoman told Reuters that “no unencrypted PIN data was accessed,” but didn’t comment on whether some of the encrypted data that was taken may have contained PIN numbers.
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"We continue to have no reason to believe that PIN data, whether encrypted or unencrypted, was compromised. And we have not been made aware of any such issue in communications with financial institutions to date," the spokeswoman said by email to Reuters. "We are very early in an ongoing forensic and criminal investigation."
The data breach has angered customers, and some banks have taken action to deter theft using the leaked credit/debit card data. JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Santander Bank both lowered limits on cash withdrawals that customers could make from ATMs and how much could be spent at stores.
That is an unusual move in this type of hack, Reuters said, and led at least one security expert to speculate that such an “extreme measure” might indicate concern about PIN data having to do with cash withdrawals.
Lawsuits against Target that may morph into class-action suits are already being filed.
A judge would decide if the lawsuits are a class action, which attorney Anne Bremner told CNN is a “different animal in legal work.”
“You can’t just sue because something happened,” she told CNN. “You have to have a claim and a damage.”
Despite immediate moves by Target to alleviate the public’s response, such as offering an extra 10 percent off in stores right before Christmas, the company’s reputation has taken a big hit.
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