Target's data breach is a story with long legs

          Laura Heller

Security and data breaches are becoming daily news items. Just this weekend we learned that crowdsourcing site Kickstarter was hacked and some customer data was accessed. Forbes, a site to which I contribute regularly, was also compromised on Friday with contributor and registered readers' personal information accessed by the Syrian Electronic Army.

It's starting to feel like the Wild West out there.

Not all the data breaches were at retailers, but they are related. Fellow Forbes contributor and retail analyst Paula Rosenblum correctly points out that consumers don't necessarily make the distinction between retail accounts and the myriad of other sites they visit. Any site that requires registration collects data, and is therefore vulnerable to security breaches.

Target's breach pushed the issue into the spotlight and from the moment it was announced on Dec. 18, 2013, there have been almost daily additions to the story. Neiman Marcus, Michaels Stores and, just last week, Tesco announced data breaches. Multiple industry groups have joined forces to battle security threats — just today the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced another partnership, this time with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA) to enhance cyber security information sharing and expand retailers' proactive and vigilant approach to cyber threats to protect consumers against criminals. Partnering with the NCFTA is one of several approaches RILA is taking to enhance collaboration across the entire payments system. 

"Our partnership with NCFTA is one of many information sharing models we are pursuing as part of our multi-solution approach to cyber security," said Lisa LaBruno, senior vice president of retail operations at RILA. "Collaboration among retailers and other stakeholders is essential to detecting threats early on and combatting cyber-criminals."

While we can't help solve cyber crime, we at FierceRetail can help keep track of the stories and events shaping our industry in regards to data breaches. To this end, FierceRetail and our sister-publication FierceITSecurity joined forces to create a timeline of events from the moment Target's POS system was breached. We will update this as related news breaks. --Laura