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Target data breach timeline

  • March 26, 2014 - 8:52 PM

SUMMER 2013

Target installs $1.6 million malware detection tool from FireEye Inc.

September

• Target is certified compliant with payment card industry security standards.

• Attackers steal network credentials of one of Target’s contractors, which are later used to gain access to Target’s network.

November

Nov. 12: First breach of Target’s network; thieves gain access to information on millions of debit and ­credit cards of Target customers.

Nov. 15-28

• Attackers fully install point-of-sale malware in Target’s network.

• Symantec software identifies malicious activity in Target’s network.

• Attackers install malware to allow them to export their stolen data.

• Target’s FireEye malware detection software sends out alerts.

December

Dec. 2: Attackers install updated malware that can export stolen data.

Dec. 2: Target’s FireEye malware detection software again sends out alerts.

Dec. 12: Target is alerted by the U.S. Justice Department of suspicious activity involving payment cards in its system.

Dec. 13: Target meets with the Justice Department and Secret Service.

Dec. 14: Target hires an independent team of experts to lead a forensic investigation.

Dec. 15: Target confirms breach and removes malware from most registers in U.S. stores.

Dec. 16: The company begins notifying payment processors and card networks.

Dec. 18: Target discovers and removes malware on 25 additional registers.

Dec. 18: Computer security blogger ­Brian Krebs posts a story saying Target is confronting a security breach.

Dec. 19: Target confirms that credit and debit card information of 40 million customers had been exposed.

January

Jan 10: Target announces that personal information of up to 70 million customers also was exposed.

Jan. 13: CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologizes to customers for the data breach in a televised interview with CNBC.

February

Feb. 4: Target CFO John Mulligan briefs the Senate Judiciary Committee on the data breach.

Feb. 5: Mulligan testifies before a House subcommittee.

Feb. 7: Fazio Mechanical Services, a Pennsylvania-based heating and air conditioning contractor hired by Target, is identified as the conduit through which cyberthieves breached Target’s payment system.

Feb. 26: Target reports 2013 financial results, including $61 million spent in the fourth quarter on costs related to the cybertheft.

March

March 5: Target announces the resignation of Beth Jacob as senior vice president and chief information officer.

March 13: Bloomberg Businessweek publishes an article that says Target IT security missed warning signs from its malware detection software.

March 26: Target CFO John Mulligan again testifies on Capitol Hill, this time to answer allegations that the company missed opportunities to stop the ­cyberthieves.

 

Sources: Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Bloomberg Businessweek; Brian Krebs; Target Corp., Star Tribune

© 2014 Star Tribune