The information may have been stolen through card devices at Target stores, according to reports

IDG News Service - Credit and debit card information of many Target customers may have been stolen during the Black Friday weekend, according to reports.

The thieves got access to data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of the credit and debit cards through card swiping devices that could have been tampered with at the retailer's stores, reported the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The data on the stripe could be used to make counterfeit cards. If the thieves also intercepted PIN (personal identification number) data for debit transactions, they "would theoretically be able to reproduce stolen debit cards and use them to withdraw cash from ATMs," wrote security news writer Brian Krebs...

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Target: Hack may have hit 40 million accounts

Holiday shopping itself can be stressful enough. Now Target adds to the angst with news of a widespread theft of customers' credit and debit card data.

Consumers who shopped at Target stores between November 27 and December 15 -- right in the thick of the high-volume holiday shopping season -- should check their credit card statements for any unusual activity.

On Thursday, the retail chain acknowledged a hack that obtained the names, credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and three-digit security codes of store customers who purchased items over the past few weeks, including the Black Friday weekend. Around 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by the attack.

The issue that let the hacker gain access to customer data has been identified and resolved, according to Target. The company said that it's working with law enforcement officials to track down those responsible for the attack and has hired a third-party forensic team to investigate the incident...

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