Neiman Marcus Breach: Should Not Be Overshadowed By Target Breach

January 24, 2014 | By Kevin Judge

Data Security

The recent data breach at the luxury specialty retailer Neiman Marcus has been overshadowed the mega data breach agt the retailing giant Target. However, it is nothing to sneeze at. With 1.1 million debit and credit cards compromised the consequences many be huge.

While this pales in numbers to the Target breach, with an estimated 110 million cardholders data stolen, we can assume that the average Neiman Marcus shopper has a much higher credit limit that those us who frequent Target. The period in which shoppers were at risk was much longer than Target, from July 16 and Oct. 30 last year.

At least Target was able to identify the breach internally. Neiman Marcus did not learn they were compromised until card companies began identifying suspicious transactions on customer cards. According to a report on Bloomberg News, the card companies have identified 2,400 cards used at Neiman Marcus during the breached period that have been used fraudulently.

Because of the timing and some similarities in the attacks, some have speculated that the Target and Neiman Marcus attacks are related. There has been nothing specifically identified to data that connects the two breaches and we do not know where the Neiman Marcus attacks originated from.

Several security experts who have looked at the Target breach malware have said the compromised card data accumulated in a concealed location inside Target’s network. It was then slowly transferred to a server in Russia, slow enough to avoid raising red flags that something was up. Something similar occurred at Neiman Marcus, but we don’t know where the data was sent.

The US Secret Service is investigating these breaches and has expressed concern that there will be many more attacks like this. There is an illicit market for malware like this and it can be obtained very cheap from web sites on the so called “darknet”. The darknet refers to web sites that are able to maintain privacy using onion routers and anonymous peer to peer file sharing networks like Tor.

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