U.S. retailers have been hit by a huge wave of cyber crime that may have started with the Target hack, a massive data breach that allowed hackers to steal credit and debit card information for more than 40 million customers, and personal details for more than 70 million people. But Target was not the only retailer hit, as more than 1,000 American businesses may have been affected by the same malware, the New York Times has revealed.
Only recently companies including Supervalu and UPS Stores admitted to data breaches, but most companies affected have not acknowledged the hack.
Meanwhile, the attack that’s dubbed “Backoff,” after a word found in its code, may have affected millions of additional customers whose credit card information might be selling on black markets without their knowledge. In fact, some of the hacked companies may not even be able to warn customers, as they themselves may still be unaware hackers are stealing information from their terminals.
The Secret Service and Homeland Security issued a report in late July advising businesses to check their systems for Backoff traces, and to take appropriate measures to either deal with any security existing data breaches, or prevent them in the future.
According to the Secret Service, hackers scan corporate systems for access points, but also poke around vendors with remote access to a company’s systems or employees who work remotely for a company to get their foot in the door. Once access to a store’s network is infiltrated, the cash registers are targeted to steal credit card data.