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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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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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gwetababy March 05 2014 at 11:24 AM

I believe there were breaches before this was announced. Several years ago, I purchased several items at Target's store. Two days later, I looked at my bank account and saw that there were two different purchase receipts when I had only gone through the line one time. I contacted Target and they told me there had been some "glitches" in the computer. However, they told me that I still had to fix the problem through my bank.

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KRISTIAN March 05 2014 at 10:48 AM

When are these big corporations and banks going to switch to the micro chip cards that actually protect people from this type of scandel.....

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show me the mone March 05 2014 at 10:46 AM

They don't have this problem in Europe, they have a much more secure system than we do, but it costs more to set up, and that's why they don't do it here... Profit is their only concern in the us

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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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quincy_maxwell March 05 2014 at 10:52 AM

Pay off your credit cards people. Pay cash. I did. Then cut them up. So much technology is not necessarily a good thing.

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1 reply
bweaver371 quincy_maxwell March 05 2014 at 11:08 AM

that is not an answer I don't have Credit Cards I do pay with debit cards that is much worse you have no recourse at least with CC's you are not responsible for charges you do not make. The banks on debit cards don't care. and cash is to much of a target for thieves to steal your purse or wallet. life is a gamble and now it is to transparent with the internet do what you need to make yourself comfortable and safe from the criminals and low lives of this world we now live in

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rlysiywgtf March 05 2014 at 10:55 AM

I bet he had something to due with it !!!! PAY CASH or go with out................

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Running after it March 05 2014 at 11:09 AM

Target and any other company that does a lot of business via credit and debit cards and/or the Internet are in a dilemma. The more security that is imposed will, by it's very nature, make the job of shopping/buying more difficult to the consumer. That will cause a lot of them not to shop at such a place. I imagine too that in light of the competition that goes on daily, any cyber improvements will be aimed at greater product exposure via the techy world rather than security. Security is expensive in many ways and hackers who are out to get rich will be able to identify the weakest quickly.

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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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Dick March 05 2014 at 10:20 AM

Guess someone has to be the scape goat in this mess. Too bad they can't find the scum bag criminals that did this!!!

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