Target Security Breach Affected 70 Million Shoppers, Admits Retail Giant

Retail giant Target is off to a terrible start in 2014. New numbers released by the retailer reveal that Target's holiday-season security breach, which saw stolen data that included the names, addresses, credit numbers, phone numbers and email addresses of customers, affected between 70 and 110 million people. As part of the ongoing investigation, Target admitted that these new numbers may also include customers who had their data exposed before the holidays.

These new numbers make clear that the security breach was much bigger than previously thought. Initially, Target said that 40 million customers were hit during the holiday shopping period. During that first admission that something was off behind the scenes — an admission we can thank security blog Krebs On Security for — Target said that "unauthorized access" to names, credit card numbers, expiration dates and the three-digit CCV security code was gained between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

“I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Target, in their most recent statement on the retailer's website. “I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.”

Target, which has 1,797 stores in America, maintain that a lot of the stolen data is partial. In cases when customer emails addresses are known, Target will contact the shoppers with tips to help safeguard them against scams and hacking. Target are also offering a free year of credit monitoring to customers. But it's all a bit too little, too late.

So if you're a Target shopper, keep an eye on your bank statements. Otherwise...

Image: Getty