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Target breach brings security standards under scrutiny

The prospect of identity theft is scary, in part because it uses victims’ own personal information against them. As a result of the public’s increasing awareness of this risk, people in Las Vegas and around the country have become much more cautious about safeguarding their identifying data, but are willing to providing it to trustworthy companies such as established national chains. However, as was seen in Target’s recent security breach, sometimes a retailer can unwittingly release its customers’ information. Such incidents, and their resulting commercial litigation, can sometimes spur a review of standard security practices.

In the wake of a recent announcement that Target’s breach was much more far-reaching than initially suspected, security analysts are voicing their dismay at the incident’s implications. These experts are troubled by the attack on Target’s security systems, primarily because it indicates that currently accepted methods of protecting consumer data are perhaps becoming inadequate. The method and source of the breach have not been revealed but there is concern that other retailers will also be targets.

This monumental security breach has already cost Target, both in lost customer trust and in business litigation. The company is now facing class-action suits, as well as a dip in sales. There is also speculation that corporate disputes, including shareholder lawsuits, may not be far behind; the company’s stock has already dropped more than one percent since the breach.

A company’s security failures can lead to a number of business disputes, particularly if customers consequently become victims of identity fraud. Those who have suffered identity theft as the result of a data breach may wish to consult an attorney for assistance.

Source: The Washington Post, “Target says up to 70 million more customers were hit by December data breach,” Jia Lynn Yang and Amrita Jayakumar, Jan. 10, 2014

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