Target says data breach much wider than first estimated

This post has been updated. See the note below for details.

Target Corp. on Friday said that last month's data breach affected up to 110 million customers and that the data theft was broader than originally thought.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said that as as many as 70 million customers' information, which included names, mailing addresses, emails and phone numbers, was stolen last month during the busy holiday shopping season.

Target said the theft was not a new breach but was uncovered as part of the ongoing investigation into the theft of millions of customers' credit and debit card information during the busy holiday shopping season. Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, hackers pilfered the data from U.S. Target stores. 

Friday's disclosure, however, shows that hackers made off with more than just payment card information.

[Updated 8:30 a.m. PST Jan. 10: Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, said the 70 million customers whose personal data were stolen were a separate group from the 40 million customers previously reported whose payment card information was hacked. Snyder said some overlap was possible, but that overall, as many as 110 million customers' information was stolen during the same crime.]

“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, Target's chief executive said. “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.”

The retailer is offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all affected customers who shopped at U.S. stores. Customers will have three months to enroll, Target said in a statement.

Target also reported that sales at its U.S. unit were "meaningfully weaker" after the data breach was reported. The company's reputation has taken a hit, surveys show, and the company is facing lawsuits and accusations that it waited too long in disclosing that its system had been hacked. 

Target shares were down 80 cents, or 1.3%, to $62.40 Friday.


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