Nation & World News

U.S. HVAC Firm Reportedly Linked To Target’s Data Security Breach

By Bill Chappell on February 5th, 2014

Hackers who broke into Target’s computer network and stole customers’ financial and personal data used credentials that were stolen from a heating and air conditioning subcontractor in Pennsylvania, according to digital security journalist Brian Krebs.

Target did not confirm Krebs’ version of events when he presented his story to the giant retailer, citing the ongoing inquiry into how credit card data was stolen. Krebs cites anonymous sources and a confirmation of a visit from federal officials to the HVAC company:

“Sources close to the investigation said the attackers first broke into the retailer’s network on Nov. 15, 2013 using network credentials stolen from Fazio Mechanical Services, a Sharpsburg, Penn.-based provider of refrigeration and HVAC systems.

“Fazio president Ross Fazio confirmed that the U.S. Secret Service visited his company’s offices in connection with the Target investigation, but said he was not present when the visit occurred.”

As for why an air conditioning company might need access to Target’s computer network, a security expert tells Krebs that retailers sometimes grant such access to let vendors make changes and adjustments remotely, in order to cut heating and cooling costs.

In tweets following publication of his story today, Krebs said it’s possible that Target’s customer information was segmented away from other areas of its network, to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive financial data — but the hackers figured out a way to get to that data.

In recent months, Target and Neiman Marcus have headlined a list of companies reporting data breaches. The stories have led Congress to look at how to prevent such incursions, as Elise Hu reported for NPR’s All Tech Considered earlier today.

Her story includes this quote from Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.:

“Right now there’s no federal law setting out clear security standards that merchants and data brokers need to meet, and there’s no federal law requiring companies to tell their customers when their data has been stolen.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Sandra P

    Are tickets being distributed today? The time, but not date, of distribution is written above.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier, editor of Charlie Hebdo, is seen Sept.19, 2012. PEN American Center's decision to give the French satirical magazine its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award has prompted six writers to withdraw from the annual event.

6 Novelists Withdraw From Event Honoring ‘Charlie Hebdo’ For Free Speech

Peter Carey and Rachel Kushner are among those who are withdrawing in protest from the PEN American Center’s annual gala. Kushner says she is uncomfortable with Charlie Hebdo’s “cultural intolerance.”


Tennis fans at this year's Wimbledon will have to take selfies the old-fashioned way, like these fans at last year's championships.

Leave The Selfie Sticks At Home, Wimbledon Says

Taking the same stance as the Kentucky Derby and major music festivals, the All England Lawn Tennis Club reportedly cited the devices’ “nuisance value.”


A courtroom sketch shows accused murderer James Holmes sitting with Arapahoe County Public Defender Tamara Brady at the Arapahoe District Courthouse in Centennial, Colo., in January. His trial will begin with opening statements Monday.

James Holmes Trial Set To Begin In Colorado, 3 Years After Cinema Shooting

More than 1,000 days after James Holmes opened fire on an audience at a midnight movie premiere in Aurora, Colo., his trial will begin in earnest Monday.


A woman and child rest in the open outside a destroyed building Sunday, a day after a major earthquake destroyed homes in Kumalpur village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Nine people reportedly died in the small village, including four children.

More Than 3,700 Dead In Nepal As Earthquake’s Toll Rises

Aftershocks are rattling survivors’ nerves and making the recovery even more challenging. In one district, 400,000 people were affected by the quake and more than 4,000 homes are now unsafe.


Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier this month in Tokyo. Abe's visit to the U.S. this week features an agreement for the Japanese military to have a more active role.

For Japan’s Prime Minister, U.S. Visit A Chance To Elevate Image

Shinzo Abe will have a summit with President Obama, sign a security agreement and make a historic address to a joint meeting of Congress during his weeklong visit.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments