But the dollars behind the settlement are relatively trivial for the $19 billion owner of Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, A.J. Wright, HomeSense and Winners.
(See our column analyzing the TJX settlement: Is This Really The Message We Want Sent?)
The biggest impact will likely come from a wide range of security concessions, although many of the rules had already been directly or indirectly required by existing PCI guidelines.
Among the security agreements detailed in the pact:
This one seems to go beyond explicit PCI rules, as PCI 1.2 says that "network segmentation of, or isolating (segmenting), the cardholder data environment from the remainder of the corporate network is not a PCI DSS requirement. However, it is recommended" and PCI adds that "without adequate network segmentation (sometimes called a "flat network"), the entire network is in scope of the PCI DSS assessment. Network segmentation can be achieved through internal network firewalls, routers with strong access control lists or other technology that restricts access to a particular segment of a network."
This week's state attorneys general statement kept the secrecy game going, with the states agreeing to exempt everything related to this case from the eyes of the public. All of the states "shall treat such documents as exempt from disclosure under the relevant public records laws." The justification: "These documents may contain sensitive information about the current state of TJX's security infrastructure and mechanisms, which could be harmful to TJX's ability to secure data, if disclosed." If that's true, why not simply handle it the way the U.S. federal government is supposed to handle Freedom of Information Act requests: release the documents, but black out only those lines that pose a true security threat?
One of the attorneys general involved in the case, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, issued a strongly-worded statement about the agreement.
“TJX’s lax security enabled thieves to plunder and pilfer customers’ private financial data. The crooks took untold riches, sensitive information from nearly 100 million credit and debit cards. Card information can be worth cash, but the company treated it like trash. TJX’s sieve-like security was a dream come true for identity thieves and a nightmare for consumers," Blumenthal said. "“We’re compelling TJX to pay nearly $10 million for its carelessness, (including) almost $400,000 to Connecticut. The company must now upgrade and up-armor its defenses to properly protect information.”
The AGs went out of their way to not dub the dollars a fine. "Of the $9.75 million monetary payment under the settlement, $5.5 million is to be dedicated to data protection and consumer protection efforts by the states and $1.75 million is to reimburse the costs and fees of the investigation," said a statement issued by the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, which coordinated the negotiations. "Further, $2.5 million of the settlement will fund a Data Security Trust Fund to be used by the state Attorneys General to advance enforcement efforts and policy development in the field of data security and protecting consumers’ personal information."
Here's a copy of the full agreement.