Computer Crime Research Center


How the cybercrime industry fueled Target breach: McAfee

Date: March 11, 2014

The cyberattacks that led to the massive data breach at Target last year marked the "coming-of-age" for a black-market service industry that caters to malicious hackers and identity thieves, computer security company McAfee Labs said in a quarterly report Monday.

That industry allowed the thieves to not only buy custom-made malware for the theft, but also to quickly sell credit card numbers from 40 million shoppers affected by the breach. The thieves sold the numbers through online back-channels that security experts call the "dark web," the company said.

"Retailers in general took this as a wake-up call," said Mike Fey, chief technology officer at McAfee, on "Squawk on the Street." "They saw an essentially off-the-shelf ... piece of malware modified for a unique environment, which was Target. A lot of retailers assumed that if they don't have a standard point-of-sale system, they were somehow safe. And I think Target showed them that's not the case."

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