- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2013

A data breach that hit Target shoppers on the most-shopped day of the year — Black Friday — may have compromised the private credit and debit card information of millions.

The data theft took place at stores around the nation, and investigators say it may have gone forth at the hands of someone who altered the machines that are used to swipe the credit and debit cards, The Daily Mail reported.

Moreover, the data breach spanned several days. Investigators think it could have started as early as the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, and continued all the way up until Dec. 15, The Daily Mail said.

Online Target shoppers weren’t affected. But in-store customers at the chain’s 1,797 stores around the nation should be on alert, authorities say.

“When all is said and done,” one unnamed data security official said, in The Daily Mail, this one will put its mark up there with some of the largest retail breaches to date.”

The largest credit card data breach took place in 2007 at a store called TJX, when more than 45 million customers’ debit and credit cards were stolen over a period of 18 months.

Investigators still don’t know how the hackers were able to breach all the Target stores in the nation, and they’re calling the crime a case of sophistication and expertise.

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