As we’ve reported earlier, the huge American chain department store, Target, became a victim of a hacker attack and this was hardly an isolated incident. Target, along with Neiman-Marcus chain stores, is just a couple of the stores that were a part of a large-scale hacking operation.
It appears that bits and pieces of this hacking meltdown are finally being resolved and the picture that emerges is quite depressing indeed. First and foremost, it appears that the attack used hardware to embed malware into the payment processing system that handled Neiman-Marcus and Target. In other words, it’s not so much Target that got hit but the payment processing system for credit cards that Target used. Why is this bad news? Well, just judging from the case of Neiman-Marcus, it is not just one retail chain that is using this credit card processing system. Theoretically speaking, all stores that use this system can be vulnerable to the same hacking attack.
Moreover, some of the investigators are saying that the attack originated in Russia. According to some media outlets, investigators are close to zeroing in on a 17-year old Russian hacker.
Regardless of how this pans out, it does show a major vulnerability in the financial information system of the United States. It shows major bottlenecks in terms of financial transaction processing. If this persists, people will not trust shopping with their credit cards anymore and this can have a serious impact on the fragile US economic recovery.