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

#NPRreads: The ‘Grexit,’ Video Games And Fleeing The Rwandan Genocide

Also this week, misconceptions about slavery. And, the struggle for gay Christians trying to keep the faith.


Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.


Iceland’s Pirate Party Wins Repeal Of Blasphemy Law

The insurgent political movement, which has just three members in parliament, led the rollback of the 75-year-old law that made it a crime to “ridicule or insult” religious teachings.


The popular Reddit question-and-answer section /r/IAmA, along with hundreds of others, have shut down in an apparent protest over the dismissal of a key figure at the social sharing site.

Parts Of Social-Sharing Site Reddit Go Dark In Apparent User Revolt

After the firing of a key figure at the website, moderators of many of Reddit’s most popular sections have gone private in apparent protest.


Health insurance giant Aetna has announced a $37 billion plan to acquire rival Humana.

Aetna Announces $37 Billion Merger With Health Insurance Rival Humana

If the deal passes antitrust scrutiny, it would be the largest such acquisition in the insurance industry. It’s the latest sign of consolidation in health insurance in the wake of Obamacare.


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