Michaels Reports Possible Credit Card Breach After Brian Krebs Breaks Story

Michaels

Michaels, the famous US retailer based in Texas, has reported a possible security breaches after online blogger Brian Krebs broke news of a potential breach. The Irving, TX based retailer has made public statements addressing concerns that there may have been a data breach involving its stores. The statements essentially conveyed that Michaels was investigating fraudulent activity taking place with credit cards belonging to their customers.

The Michaels data breach has not been totally confirmed, however the company felt it appropriate to alert its customers of a potential breach due to “information the company has received” along with “the widely reported criminal efforts to penetrate the systems of US retailers.” Michaels has also stated that an investigation is underway, but is not yet openly confirming whether a security breach has indeed taken place. The Texas based retailer has more than 1,000 store locations throughout the US and Canada, making a potential security breach within its networks one that has many people concerned.

The Secret Service is reportedly now investigating the potential Michaels security breach. This is in addition to separate investigations being run by the Secret Service for the recent data breaches at both Target and Neiman Marcus. The Target breach was the largest such security breach in recent history and affected more than 100 million individuals and numerous banking entities, with JPMorgan Chase being heavily affected.

The recent reports by Michaels regarding a possible security breach come on the heels of yet another Brian Krebs story regarding data breaches. The last major incident Krebs wrote about was the Secret Service investigation of the retail giant Target for a huge security breach which turned out to be even larger than initially thought. Around the same time, Neiman Marcus was also flagged for possible security issues, and while the company initially kept quiet, a significant breach was eventually confirmed.

If the reports regarding the possible data issues at Michaels are confirmed, they will be the third large data breach in a relatively short period of time. Chuck Rubin, CEO of Michaels has issued a statement detailing that the company is concerned that a potential security breach has taken place, and he has suggested that customers take initial steps to insure the security of their personal information.

This latest possible breach coming in such short succession to two other major breaches suggests a worrying potential trend. The FBI has also warned retailers to expect more of the same kind of attacks in the future.

Interesting questions have been brought up as a result of the major security breaches, starting with the recent Target breach. One of the obvious and widely discussed issues is what to do about the future of cyber-security, specifically with regards to that of individuals financial data from debit and credit card accounts.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase issued a statement recently saying, “more Target-sized security breaches will happen if banks and retail stores don’t start working together to further protect customers’ data.” JPMorgan is the worlds largest issuer of credit cards, and the company has replaced 2 million credit and debit cards as a direct result of the Target security breach. Dimon said however that there has been no drastic reduction in consumer spending as a result of the breaches and, according to a spokeswoman, the issue should not adversely affect JPMorgan’s financial position. Despite this, Dimon insists that we have not seen the end of the security attacks and has called for banks and retail stores to begin working together to increase consumer data security.

It appears that a central topic which will decide how this issue will ultimately be decided is one that has been presented to the American public for more than a decade now. That is the question of freedom and privacy versus security. The technology certainly exists today to more closely attach consumer data to their person in an attempt to reduce identity theft in the form of stolen credit card information. The question the public will have to ultimately answer is whether it is worth the forfeited freedom and privacy to have the added convenience and “security.” Time, and potentially many more data breaches (according to Dimon and the FBI), will ultimately decide how this question will be answered.

For the time being, full confirmation is being awaited regarding the reported Michaels security breach announced after a Brian Krebs report.

By Daniel Worku

Christian Science Monitor

NY Times

USA Today

NPR