The Target security breach has been big news in the retail world. However, one thing that has yet to be covered is who was responsible for stealing the data of nearly 110 million consumers. While we do not know the exact group behind it, a picture of who they might be is starting to emerge.
A recent article from USA Today interviewed several security experts to try and figure out who was responsible. The article found that the group behind the attack most likely started with trial runs that infected thousands of point-of-sale systems in January of last year.
"This is a well-funded adversary taking their time to develop very specific malware to go after very specific targets and a big payday," Chris Petersen, chief technology officer at security intelligence firm LogRhythm, told the news source. "This is organized crime applied to cybercrime."
Avivah Litan, a banking security analyst at Gartner, said in November that investigators were discussing the links between several attacks during the year. These included attacks on grocery chains that Visa disclosed and Neiman Marcus. She added that while Target was the biggest retailer to get hit, there are other retailers that have not yet been named.
Paterson added that these criminals could have spent all year finding entry points and mastering their craft before launching the full attack that was so large it overwhelmed security departments.
This should be a wake-up call for all businesses to ensure payment processing software is secure at all times and operations are never slowed down.