Earlier this year, we discussed reports on this blog about the possibility of Staples suffering a significant data breach. Recently, the office supply chain confirmed that such a breach had indeed occurred, affecting 115 of the company's 1,400 stores and potentially compromising as many as 1.16 million payment cards.
As reported by Tom's Guide, Staples has gone on the record saying that the breach occurred over a period of six months, during which a type of malware was introduced into the system that allowed thieves to steal payment information such as card numbers, names, expiration dates and magnetic-strip verification codes. It is believed that this information has already been used to conduct fraudulent card activity, and further investigation is ongoing.
This is more evidence that it has, unfortunately, been a robust year for data breaches among retailers. Both Home Depot and Kmart have also suffered from similar breaches this year, leaving many customers unsure about the safety of their credit information when they make purchases.
This is particularly relevant during the holiday season, not only in the days leading up to Christmas, but also after, when thousands of shoppers head back to stores to exchange gifts, return items and make additional purchases with gift cards. Given the sheer amount of business that will be done in the coming weeks, it is vital that retailers take steps to avoid future data breaches.
If retailers invest invest in the safest point of sale credit card processing systems available, they can help give their customers peace of mind this season.