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Target tech chief resigns as it overhauls security

NEW YORK (AP) - Target Corp. Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob is resigning effective Wednesday as the retailer overhauls its information security and compliance division in the wake of a massive pre-Christmas data breach.

Target Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement released to The Associated Press that the company will search for an interim chief information officer who can help guide the company through the transformation.

Jacob had been in her current role since 2008 and oversaw teams in the U.S. and India.

Target disclosed on Dec. 19 that the data breach compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Then on Jan. 10 it said hackers also stole personal information - including names, phone numbers as well as email and mailing addresses - from as many as 70 million customers.

Target, based in Minneapolis, also plans to look outside the company for a chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer. Before the overhaul, information security functions were split among a variety of executives. Target's new chief information security officer will centralize those responsibilities, the company said.

The previous duties of chief compliance officer were overseen by Target's current vice president of assurance risk and compliance, who had previous plans to retire at the end of March. Now, Target is separating the responsibility for assurance risk and compliance.

Target also says it's working with an outside adviser, Promontory Financial Group, to help it evaluate its technology, structure, processes and talent as part of the overhaul.

"While we are still in the process of an ongoing investigation, we recognize that the information security environment is evolving rapidly," Steinhafel said in a statement.

Target is still grappling with the fallout of the theft. The company said last week that its profit for the fourth quarter fell 46 percent on a revenue decline of 5.3 percent as the breach scared off customers.

While Target said sales have been recovering since it disclosed the breach in mid-December, the company expects business to be muted for some time. It issued a profit outlook for the current quarter and full year that was below Wall Street estimates.

The company is offering free credit monitoring for a year for any customer shopping at a Target store who wants it.

It's also equipping its locations with more security technology. Target is accelerating its $100 million plan to roll out chip-based credit card technology, which experts say is more secure than using traditional magnetic stripe cards.

When the final tally is in, Target's breach may eclipse the biggest known data breach at a retailer, one disclosed in 2007 at the parent company of TJ Maxx that affected 90 million records.

In a posting last week on a company blog, Steinhafel said, "In the weeks ahead, we hope to understand more about how this attack happened. And will use what we learn to inform our guests, make Target a safer place to shop and to drive change across the broader retail industry."

In a letter to Steinhafel furnished by Target, the outgoing Chief Information Officer Jacob said resigning was a "difficult decision," but she said that "this was a time of significant transformation for the retail industry and for Target." She did not mention the data breach.

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LL March 05 2014 at 12:52 PM

It's simple, let's all pay with CASH and this will dimantle all of these card theft rings, for good, and we won't be losing any sleep about who has access to our cards.

If it can occur at Target, it can repeat itself anywhere else.

THEN, we work on ensuring that ALL consumers are issued "Smart Cards" and problem solved.

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1 reply
giorgettilois LL March 05 2014 at 1:06 PM

I guess you don't live from paycheck to paycheck !! We should ALL be so lucky.

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easymoneyforall March 05 2014 at 8:05 PM

Getting rid of one under-qualified incompetent executive doesn't chance the fact there are still thousands of completely inept execs in power in the U.S. today, ruining the economy with their greed and poor decision-making skills and bringing us all down as a result.

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2 replies
easymoneyforall easymoneyforall March 05 2014 at 8:05 PM

doesn't change the fact that is (not "doesn't chance")

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home easymoneyforall March 05 2014 at 8:42 PM

I'm sure you would be one of those "inept" executive as well!

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Gene Daley YPC March 05 2014 at 8:23 PM

Europe has basically fixed the main problem or at least made it much more difficult to hack credit card info. Problem is it costs more for the credit card companies. Ergo, screw the customer, I'm not losing any money to help out the consumer, say the card companies.

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tartufo72 March 05 2014 at 11:33 AM

Did Beth benefit personally from the credit card theft. No....if she had she wouldn't be resigning she would get arrested and Target would fire her. Typical bad behavior by a large corporation. As long as they give the public a human sacrifice, be it a woman (always best), I guess they think this is excuses their lack of security. Apparently it was all Beth's fault. Never shopping at Target again.

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rogermpolk March 05 2014 at 11:34 AM

I agree with Pam. The "little guy" should not bare the burden. The executives make the big bucks and they decide policy. But I digress, the main issue after fixing the problem is who did it? Have they been discovered and penalized? In this day and age, there must be international laws that all countries agree to uphold or they should be refused access to the internet. Not going to happen but sure would be right (in a perfect world).

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Carol March 06 2014 at 2:10 AM

Not only has this affected their customers,, it is now tricklilng down to employees. Stores are taking away positions from employees who have been with them for years and even decreasing their pay several dollars per hour. Shame on Target, shame on you for negatively impacting millions of lives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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sbfulkerson March 05 2014 at 10:59 PM

These things just happen these days. With computers and programs someone spends all day and night figuring how or what can they do. So they get the right information , and they do it. It may have just fell in their lap top. The man is an trusted employee , one to be on the team. Was it a given password figured out ? Did they have " Norton Software ". I just added that in, it felt right. The guy has a job ,pretty darn lucky, A respectable job , one a lot of people wouldn't mind having in this recession economy. He's a movie star and doesn't know it. The company should back him with complete understanding that " these thing can happen ". I bet you he's a good dude. It's a called seeing a alien Spaceship and your looking around going " Did you see that !! There may be new clause's and charges in Insurance, it may go up. companies should have break rooms in their facilities , Not the front door !!! Its against the law to lot tier What 's the world coming to. Rather it should be away that you might get busted !!

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Joyce March 05 2014 at 11:54 AM

I think Target wont be on the list of hacked stores now. they done it, so now I'm sure the crooks are working on other retail stores. Those stores need to start checking id's I know wal mart dont check any credit card id's anymore. Not a good thing for us.

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Paul March 05 2014 at 11:37 PM

It's now happened at Smucker's online store. Check it out. I know since I just received a letter that my personal information was hacked while ordering. Smucker's - - heard anything about it?

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1 reply
bkwochnick Paul March 06 2014 at 12:47 AM

That was a con letter ......

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pburro9 March 05 2014 at 1:14 PM

I have heard on the news that credit cards with chips in them can be detected faster than those without. They showed on the news that someone carrying a concealed scanning device can walk by you and read the numbers on your credit cards with chips that are inside your purse. I have no credit cards with chips now.

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