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

Kentucky Is Now Just Two Games Away From Perfect Season

It was down to two final free throws, but the Wildcats finally overcame Notre Dame’s upset bid in a 68-66 win. They’ll go on to face the Wisconsin Badgers in a rematch from last year’s Final Four.


Wandsworth prison in south London in a 2010 photo. Neil Moore, a 28-year-old convicted fraudster, walked out of the prison earlier this month by showing guards a bail letter he'd forged.

British Fraudster Walks Out Of Jail Using Forged Bail Letter

The man, who was serving time for a $2.7 million fraud, simply showed guards the letter and walked free. He later changed his mind and turned himself back in to authorities.


A window sticker on a downtown Indianapolis florist shop this week shows its objection to the Religious Freedom bill passed by the Indiana legislature.

Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Sparks Firestorm Of Controversy

When Gov. Mike Pence signed a law that allows his state’s businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples, he could hardly have anticipated the dramatic backlash he’s received.


Yemen's President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi speaks during the opening meeting of the Arab Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, south of Cairo, on Saturday.

Arab Airstrikes Against Yemen Reportedly Could Continue For Months

At a summit in Egypt, the embattled Yemeni President Abed Raboo Mansour Hadi also described Houthi rebels as “puppets of Iran.”


Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, left, and opposition candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, right, prepare to sign a renewal of their pledge to hold peaceful "free, fair, and credible" elections, at a hotel in the capital Abuja, Nigeria, on Thursday.

Amid Violence, Nigerians Go To The Polls To Choose A President

Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan faces off against former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari in what is being described as the closest contest in the history of the West African country.


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