Target recently announced it has reached a $19 million settlement with MasterCard to cover the damages to financial institutions that issue MasterCard debit and credit cards as a result of the retailer's massive data breach in December 2013.

"We believe this settlement provides our issuers a reasonable resolution of the Target data breach event," said Eileen Simon, chief franchise integrity officer, of MasterCard. "The timely reimbursement of costs and losses under the agreement delivers MasterCard issuers a faster and more certain resolution to the event, while reinforcing our commitment to maintain the integrity of industry security standards."

During that holiday season, malware planted on credit card terminals resulted in the theft of credit data as Target customers paid for their holiday shopping, affecting some 40 million customers.

The hackers responsible have yet to be identified, as they went underground shortly after selling the stolen data. They initially gained access to Target's network through a plumbing company employed by the retailer, allowing them to steal the data and move it to servers in Russia. Warnings of the attack made by an internal security team were, ultimately, ignored by Target officials.

Target recently paid out an additional $10 million in a class action lawsuit surrounding the same incident.

The malware, called Backhoff, was also responsible by a later breach at Home Depot, affecting 56 million customers.

Both companies are said to have updated it's terminals since then. Target updated all terminals to accept embedded ship cards which are more secure than traditional magnetic strip cards. Home Depot installed 85,000 new pin pads in 2200 North American stores to increase security measures.

Retailers who are interested in protecting the personal financial information for their customers should invest in a secure credit card payment processor from 911 Software today.