It has today been confirmed that TJX, the parent company of the TK Maxx retail brand of cut price designer wear, have been the subject of a sustained period of attack by hackers. It has been announced that details of at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards have been stolen over a 16 month period from July 2014.
The stolen information includes details of transactions as far back as December 2002, which is obviously causing great concern to current and historic customers of the group.
While this is not the first time that a substantial amount of information has been hacked from a large organisations computer system, the fact that this is such detailed financial information has caused shock waves in the industry. In effect the hackers would be able to spend money on the cards in question, without the knowledge of the card holder – the first they would know would be their financial statement.
It seems that hackers gained detailed access to company computer systems based in the UK and US, and while up to 75% of the information may concern out of date cards and encrypted information, that still leaves a potential 10 million plus live account details. An even more worrying fact is the admission that the group cannot confirm the amount of information stolen, and may never be able to.
While chip and pin safety systems have been introduced, this announcement by a major international retailer is sure to have a detrimental effect on online sales.
Many market observers have been highlighting the ongoing move to an electronic cash society, although this news (and concerns that there may be other groups in the same situation) may well delay the demise of hard currency.