Learning From the Target Data Breach: How Businesses and Consumers Can Protect Against Today's Top Security Threats

Six key network security takeaways for retailers and business, plus four key tips for the Target consumer

Jan 29, 2014, 13:30 ET from WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.

SEATTLE, Jan. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Between November 27 and December 15, 2013, unknown attackers breached Target's network and stole the debit and credit card data of 40 million account holders, including an additional 70 million accounts with personally identifying information (PII). More than a month later, it is now known that the attackers used a derivative variant of BlackPoS, called Trojan.POSRAM, and security researchers have linked the malware to young Russian hackers.

In a recent blog post, WatchGuard Technologies' Director of Security Strategy and Research, Corey Nachreiner (CISSP), explores the Target data breach and provides: 1.) a complete timeline of events to date, including what information is still unknown about the attack; 2.) four tips every Target customer should follow to protect themselves in the aftermath; and 3.) a list of six key network security takeaways every retail business should take to heart.

Here is a short portion of the complete blog post, titled "Building Defense Out of Disaster; Learning From the Target Breach":

What can businesses and retailers learn from the attack? Here are some of my key takeaway tips:

  1. PoS targeted malware is on the rise, prepare for it – Over the past few years, experts in the info security field have noticed the steady increase in malware that specifically targets point-of-sale (PoS) systems. So how do you prepare for it? Patch PoS systems, enforce a separation of duties, educate your cashiers…
  2. You need to segment your trusted network – As an industry, we have adopted a general trilateral paradigm that includes the external network (Internet), a demilitarized zone (semi-public servers), and our trusted network. The problem is our trusted network should not be flat. It makes it much to easy for attackers to perform lateral movement…
  3. You need more proactive malware detection – Unfortunately antivirus (AV) technology still relies heavily on reactive, signature-based detection. This means that it can't find and block new malware until after it's first analyzed, which is typically not until after it has infected at least one victim. However, recently newer malware detection controls have surfaced…
  4. Focus your defense on data – In a presentation I gave at Gartner ITxpo last year, I talked about how most of our preventative security controls are focused on protecting machines and devices, and not necessarily on protecting data directly. We need to spend a bit more time monitoring and protecting data directly…
  5. Focus more on detection and response – Preventative controls are a must for any organization, and they are probably the best bang for your buck. However, I'm afraid many organizations have focused too singularly on prevention and have forgotten to consider the other very important aspect of network security – detection and response. Cybersecurity is a continuous arms race…
  6. The U.S. must update its credit and debit card standards – Without going into all the technical details, most of the data stored on magstripe cards are stored in clear text, and you can easily recover or clone the data with cheap readers. EMV cards actually have small microprocessors on them, which use cryptographic standards to authenticate cards. In short, EMV makes it much harder for attackers to clone cards…

To get complete details on the Target attack, as well as in-depth analysis from WatchGuard's security experts, follow this link: http://watchguardsecuritycenter.com/2014/01/28/target-breach-learnings/

About WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.
WatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. is a global leader of integrated, multi-function business security solutions that intelligently combine industry standard hardware, Best-of-Breed security features, and policy-based management tools. WatchGuard provides easy-to-use, but enterprise-powerful protection to hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. WatchGuard products are backed by WatchGuard LiveSecurity® Service, an innovative support program. WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle, Wash. with offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. To learn more, visit WatchGuard.com.

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Kerry Desberg
WatchGuard Technologies
(206) 613-3760

Justin Hall
Voxus PR

SOURCE WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.