Hacked: Target’s security breach and why you could be affected

The age of digital technology and credit cards has eased the consumer’s ability to shop, but in a recent case it has also endangered their identities.

Such was the case in the recent security breach of giant retailer Target, when 70 million consumers’ credit information including customer names, credit card numbers and security codes, was stolen. That number later increased by an additional 40 million people, bringing forth an estimate of around 110 million customers at risk, which is about a third of the U.S. population.

Target initially disclosed the theft of the first batch on Dec. 19 from people who shopped at its stores between Nov. 27 through Dec. 15.

The breach caused millions of customers to attempt to cancel their Target Red cards, according to the Wall Street Journal. The chain’s phones lines were “clogged” and credit card website “jammed” as consumers tried to cancel cards.

It is still unclear that other retail stores have been affected, as no one else has come forth with information. Target competitor Wal-Mart has stated that although it has not been attacked, the company will keep a closer watch in the midst of this security breach.

The Washington Post reported that in response to the compromise of its customers’ security, Target offered a free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection to those who sign up through Target.com by April 23, as distributed codes, which are exchangeable for the service must be redeemed by April 30.

Some Sam Houston State University students expressed indifference or disdain with the retailer.

“I think they had it coming. That’s usually what happens when companies decide to cut corners and put customer security second,” senior computer science major Julian Silva said.

Despite the numbers of those affected, senior Kristal Hardy said the stolen credit card information won’t change her shopping habits.

“I would definitely continue to shop there,” Hardy said. “I love Target and this is not going to stop me.”

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