Cyber expert: Shoppers who used cards at Target need to exercise caution

December 19, 2013  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A top cyberforensics researcher says the Target credit card breach could be more dangerous than initial reports indicate, opening millions of people to significant money loss and identity theft.

Marcus Rogers, director of the Purdue Cyberforensics Lab, encouraged all cardholders who shopped at Target with a credit card during the identified time period to cancel their cards immediately to prevent thieves from potentially using card information to wrack up illicit charges or potentially access bank accounts.

Rogers, a former police investigator, helps police and companies worldwide solve such cybercrimes. He says the scope and timing of the attack indicates the criminals are professionals.

"They knew that striking shortly before Christmas would give them access to the greatest amount of information and pose a security dilemma to any retailer faced with the prospect of millions of cardholders canceling their cards during the busiest shopping week of the year," Rogers said. "Increased buying this season also makes it less likely that cardholders will quickly notice illicit charges."

Rogers says the breach also could have given thieves access to information like birthdays, bank account numbers and emails that would allow them to steal identities and phish for more information from victims.

Rogers, a fellow at the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, received the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 2013 Outstanding Research Award for Digital and Multimedia Sciences. He will also receive the academy's 2014 Outstanding Case Study Award for Digital and Multimedia Sciences.

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu

Source: Marcus Rogers, mkrogers@purdue.edu

Related website:
Rogers American Academy of Forensic Sciences award: https://www.cerias.purdue.edu/site/news/view/marc_rogers_receives_aafs_outstanding_research_award/

Note to Journalists: Marcus Rogers is available in person, and via phone, Skype, ISDN and from studio via Vyvx or satellite. Rogers and the Purdue studio are available for early morning live uplinks. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu.

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