April 18, 2014
Michael Stores as well as its subsidiary Aaron Brothers are targeted victims of a fraudulent case as highlighted in a recent press release and official statement on the company’s website. About 2.6 million customer credit and debit cards may have been affected at Michael stores and around 40,000 cards at the Aaron Brothers stores. The actual incident encompasses two separate eight month long incidents at the arts and crafts chain. As per official statements, the attack targeted limited no of point-of-sale (POS) of Michaels’ between May 8, 2013 and January 27, 2014. Also, between June 26, 2013 and February 27, 2014, about 54 Aaron Brothers stores were affected by the attack.
The company cited that highly sophisticated malware has been used by the criminals targeting customer data. The attack didn’t put personal information such as names, address and PINs at risk but did affect data like expiration dates of payment cards used. The company has been actively working with banks and law enforcement authorities as well as offering identity protection, fraud assistance and fraud assistance services in the aftermath of the breach. The company is using the services of AllClear ID for providing customer assistance at no cost to them.
In similar incident, between November and December 2013, around 40 million cards used by shoppers at Target Corp. stores were affected by a malware creating massive concern regarding safeguard of personal information. In recent industry news, Avivah Litan, a fraud analyst at Gartner Inc. said that offering of services like credit monitoring has become nothing but a de facto response by companies experiencing data breaches, even in severe cases of loss of personal information. Currently such services are mostly capable of alerting against possible identity thefts, etc.
Such incidents highlight the need of cross industry effort to accelerate card payment security. Although MasterCard and Visa are propelling the long-overdue entry of EMV based chip enabled cards into the card payment market. Major initiatives include that of collaboration between MasterCard and First Data and also between Visa and FIS. Only through such efforts can the daily shopper feel safe before swiping cards.