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Target under fire for slow disclosure of massive data breach

Wells Fargo confirms centralized workforce; frustrated Catholics may withhold donations to archdiocese; help for the homeless; unique broadband co-op; and more.

Folks are wondering why it took three weeks for Target to tell the public about the data breach.
MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

The angles on Target’s data breach disaster are deep and varied … Today at Forbes, Anthony Wing Cosner writes: “The Target Holiday Credit Card Breach of 2013 is destined to become a fixture in the curriculum of crisis management. And not in a good way. … But would you continue to use your credit card at a store that has told you that their very POS terminals have been compromised? Only if they also told you that the means of the point of sale data theft has been identified and closed down. …  It is surprising that Target did not prioritize this message higher in their communication with its customers.”

Kelli Grant for CNBC says: “The Target data breach affecting 40 million of the retailer’s credit and debit cards stems back to Nov. 27, two days before Black Friday. So why are we just hearing about it now, three weeks later? … In Target’s case, experts say it’s unclear whether state compliance or the Secret Service investigation delayed notification. … Shoppers should also reassess paying with debit cards, which have fewer protections compared to credit cards in the instance of fraud.”

A trio of Los Angeles Times reporters writes: “As millions of bargain-crazed customers swarmed through Target stores on Black Friday, one of the most audacious heists in retail history was quietly underway. … The data breach underscored the evolving sophistication of cybercriminals and the persistent vulnerability of retailers and consumers despite dozens of past incidents at major retailers. ‘How do you get 40 million credit cards and no one knows about it’? said Ken Stasiak, chief executive of SecureState, which investigates cybercrimes. The Target attack appeared to be well thought out and executed with great precision.”

For CNN Money, Melanie Hicken says: “While the tens of millions of Target shoppers who had their credit and debit card information stolen likely won’t be on the hook for any fraudulent transactions that may occur, debit card users could face much bigger headaches than credit card users. That’s because debit and credit cards are treated differently by consumer protection laws. … ‘I know people love their debit cards. But man oh man, they are loaded with holes when it comes to fraud’, said [credit expert] John Ulzheimer.”

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In the Detroit Free Press, Susan Tompor says: “Under federal law, your responsibility for unauthorized credit card charges is limited to $50, and in some cases, the liability is zero. As for debit cards, a consumer’s maximum responsibility for debit card fraud charges is $50 under the law, if you notify the bank within two business days after learning of the theft or loss of a debit card. That liability can jump to $500 afterward.”

Meanwhile, Janet Moore of the Strib says: “Wells Fargo & Co. confirmed Thursday that it will locate much of its Twin Cities workforce in office towers that are part of an expansive $400 million mixed-use development in downtown Minneapolis. The San Francisco-based financial giant said that 5,000 employees will occupy 1.1 million square feet in two 17-story office towers slated for largely vacant land near the Metrodome. … The Star Tribune is expected to close on the land deal Dec. 27.”

At MPR, Tom Scheck has a story on Catholics voting with their money: “Joe Schmidt’s church can count on him this year for a Christmas donation. His generosity, however, won’t reach the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He plans to send only $1 to Archbishop John Nienstedt’s annual Catholic Services Appeal, which helps run the archdiocese. The dollar will come with a message of frustration over allegations that archdiocese leaders for decades covered up sexual abuse by priests. … Church leaders across the metro are bracing for similar reactions from Catholics across the Twin Cities.” There’s always the Dorothy Day Center …

Speaking of … MinnPost’s Joe Kimball has coverage here of plans to help the homeless. Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports: “The Dorothy Day Center opened 30 years ago as a day facility at the entrance to downtown St. Paul for up to 50 homeless people at a time. Today, it houses as many as 250 men and women nightly, most of them sleeping on mats on the floor. The conditions are dangerously overcrowded, say officials. … On Friday, a city-led task force w[presented] ambitious plans for a more modern solution. Their price tag: $63 million.” A slightly better use of money from “hard-working Minnesotans” than making life tougher for gays.

Also at MPR, Jennifer Vogel has a story on rural Sibley Country cooking up a new financial structure for a broadband cooperative. “[T]he players behind the [Sibley] original proposal have come up with a new plan to move the fiber project forward. Rather than building a publicly owned network, they would build one owned by a private cooperative, but with approximately $15 million in public investment.”