Kmart is the latest major retailer to fall prey to a hacker attack resulting in the theft of customer data. The company’s IT department discovered a data breach in Kmart’s payment data systems and immediately launched a full-scale investigation. Based on initial findings, it’s believed that the breach began in early September.
Investigators believe that the hackers used a form of malware currently flying under the radar of antivirus software to infect Kmart’s payment data systems. The malware has been removed, but certain credit and debit card numbers have compromised, according to Sears Holdings Corporation, Kmart’s parent company.
“Given the criminal nature of this attack, Kmart is working closely with federal law enforcement authorities, our banking partners and IT security firms in this ongoing investigation,” Kmart said. “We are deploying further advanced software to protect our customers’ information. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our members and customers.”
While it appears that hackers made off with credit and debit card numbers, Kmart says it doesn’t look like they were able to obtain debit card PINs or other personal information, such as email addresses and Social Security numbers. At this time, the breach only seems to have affected in-store shoppers and not anyone who made a purchase on Kmart’s website.
Nevertheless, Kmart recommends keeping a close eye on your financial accounts, as most credit card companies don’t hold their customers liable for fraudulent purchases when reported in a timely manner. Kmart is also offering free credit monitoring protection for anyone who shopped at a Kmart store and paid with a credit or debit card between September and October 9, 2014.
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