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Target breach PINs: Target hackers can access bank accounts with stolen PINs

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The Target breach PINs news is escalating the aftermath of 40 million credit and debit card accounts stolen during a Target security breach. PINs (Personal Identification Numbers), are supposed to protect a person’s bank account from unauthorized access. However, according to a Dec. 25, 2013, Reuters report, “the hackers who attacked Target Corp and compromised up to 40 million credit cards and debit cards also managed to steal encrypted personal identification numbers (PINs), according to a senior payments executive familiar with the situation.”

The PIN numbers obtained during the Target breach can allow the Target hackers to access someone’s bank account and withdraw money from it.

Even though PINs are encrypted, given the sophisticated Target breach operation that lasted from Thanksgiving to Dec. 15, nearly three weeks, without security officials noticing it, these Target hackers appear to know what they are doing. Most people have some connection to their PIN numbers and matching the breached personal data -- which included customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the embedded code on the magnetic strip found on the backs of cards – to the encrypted PINs shouldn’t be that difficult of a task for a sophisticated hacker.

As in the Target breach, Target officials appear to be behind the actual events and Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder seems to be convinced that no PINs were accessed. "We continue to have no reason to believe that PIN data, whether encrypted or unencrypted, was compromised. And we have not been made aware of any such issue in communications with financial institutions to date. We are very early in an ongoing forensic and criminal investigation."

Unfortunately, while Target works on its investigation into the Target breach and decides whether or not PINs were stolen, the hackers could be clearing out Target customers’ bank accounts.



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