Sen. Blumenthal: FTC Should Probe Target Over Hacked Cards

Monday, 23 Dec 2013 06:50 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The Federal Trade Commission should investigate whether retailing giant Target properly protected the data of 40 million shoppers hacked in a massive security breach, Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal says.

Blumenthal fired off a letter to the FTC over the weekend asking for the probe, The Hill reported Monday.

“If Target failed to adequately and appropriately protect its customers’ data, then the breach we saw ... was not just a breach of security; it was a breach of trust,” he wrote.

Target said last week that about 40 million credit and debt card accounts had been affected by the breach from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.

“Given the scope and duration of Target’s recent data breach, it appears that Target may have failed to employ reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect personal information,” Blumenthal wrote.

“If Target failed to adequately protect customer information, it denied customers the protection that they rightly expect when a business collects their personal information. Its conduct would be unfair and deceptive, and it would clearly violate the FTC Act.”

Congress would have to act to give the FTC the power to hit errant companies with penalties; Blumenthal said he'd consider legislation giving the FTC power to punish firms.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Congress and with the commission" to make sure it has "all the sanction authority it needs to carry out its mission effectively,” he said, according to The Hill.

Target is already moving to assuage furious customers, offering free credit reports to anyone who thinks they may have affected by the breach — and a 10 percent discount over the post-Christmas weekend.

According to Fox News, KrebsOnSecurity reports the stolen data flooded underground black markets, selling from $20 to more than $100 each.

The news site says there are hundreds of online stores selling stolen credit and debit cards from banks worldwide.

The Target breach is the second-largest credit card hack in U.S. history, Fox News reported.

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