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One estimate: Cost of Target data breach could hit $680 million

Man with ties to white supremacist gang charged; Wilf appeals could take three years; hard winter for horses; utility regulators to examine cost of pollution; and more.

MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

It is the other “who” question in the Target data breach story … . At Reuters, David Henry and Karen Freifeld say: “The theft of credit and debit card data from 40 million Target Corp customers could end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars, but it is unclear who will bear the expense, lawyers and industry sources said. … For big data breaches, the total cost typically amounts to about $17 per account, said Larry Ponemon, whose Ponemon Institute researches data breaches. For the Target breach, that would bring the total cost of the incident to somewhere around $680 million.

Jayne O’Donnell for USA Today says: “The huge breach is the latest in a growing problem for retailers that’s increased as more companies outsource writing and maintaining software … Siobhan MacDermott, chief policy officer at computer security firm AVG Technologies … says that as retailers … rely more on data and glean more customer information, they increasingly become the targets of organized crime groups.” So if the mob siphons all $68.44 out of my checking account … I sue the out-source software maintenance company?

Strib coverage by Jennifer Bjorhus and Steve Alexander says: “The volume of people trying to access their Target Redcard account information online or to call customer service overwhelmed the company’s systems Thursday, adding frustration to the questions surrounding the huge attack. … Major card issuers such as Wells Fargo & Co. and Capital One Financial Corp. issued statements reminding cardholders that they are not responsible for fraudulent activity on their cards.”

At MPR, Annie Baxter says: “After Target confirmed the security breach on Thursday, many customers couldn’t access their account information to check for phony charges on their credit or debit cards. Its customer service phone line also was jammed. That drew the ire of customers who ranted on the company’s Facebook page and elsewhere, creating a public relations nightmare for the retailer during a crucial week for shoppers.”

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They go together like bacon and eggs, April and rain … . Says Jon Collins at MPR: “Ramsey County authorities today charged a man who has ties to a white supremacist gang with illegal possession of firearms and methamphetamines. Samuel David Shoen, 35 … is facing three counts of illegal possession of firearms, wearing a bulletproof vest while committing a crime and possession of methamphetamines.” Did he have a copy of “The Turner Diaries” and a boxed set of “Duck Dynasty” Season One?

The Wilf family has a new opportunity to re-define “protracted legal action.” In the Newark Star-Ledger, Ben Horowitz reports: “Two business partners who sued the Wilf family over revenues from an apartment complex in Montville stand to receive more than $106 million, but won’t be seeing the money anytime soon. … Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson … agreed to delay requiring the Wilfs to give the money to Josef Halpern and Ada Reichmann until their appeal of her rulings is completed. Wilson estimated it will take three years to resolve the Wilfs’ appeal.”

Ponies are expensive toys … Colin Smith at WCCO-AM says: “The price of hay has more than tripled in the past six months, fueled by a shortage caused by a drought-plagued autumn and wet spring that diminished yield. The historic shortage has some agricultural and animal experts concerned that horses could be in for a long winter. ‘Farmers and ranchers are having a very difficult time finding feed and when they do they have absolutely sticker shock,’ said Krisona Martinson, an equine extension specialist at the University of Minnesota.”

You can imagine the spin and counter-spin in this one. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “Minnesota utility regulators on Thursday agreed to take a fresh look at whether the price of pollution is accurately reflected in the cost of electrical generating plants. The 4-1 vote by the state Public Utilities Commission sets in motion a lengthy and technical process to better calculate the social cost of smokestack emissions linked to climate change and human illnesses.”

It’d be nice if this happened more often … . Dave Chanen of the Strib says: “Two Twin Cities area lawyers have been accused … of knowingly presenting at a hearing false witness statements that their client, a convicted murderer, had obtained by bribery and intimidation. In a rare motion argued last week in Hennepin County District Court, County Attorney Mike Freeman demanded that lawyers Michael McGlennen and Zachary Longsdorf pay undisclosed litigation costs and invited the District Court, the Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Corrections to recoup their expenses.” And maybe something like “Whiskey Plates” for their telephone greeting …