UTICA — Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi announced Tuesday he has contacted Minneapolis-based Target Corporation and is pushing the company to make security upgrades to their firewall system which safeguards consumer credit card information.
Brindisi’s push comes on the heels of the company’s most recent data breach that occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
The breach affected roughly 40 million credit and debit card accounts. Target has reported the breach did compromise customer names, card numbers and possibly security codes, like pins.
Brindisi’s office has received calls from constituents wondering what happens next.
Local banking institutions are letting Central New Yorkers who shopped at Target during the breach period know their options.
But Brindisi said the retailer’s defense strategy is not enough.
“Target and other retailers need to step up to the plate and make the investments in their systems that ensure consumer protections. As technology evolves, data breaches are only going to be more common, unless retailers have up-to-date systems in place to stop cyber thieves in their tracks,” Brindisi, D-Utica, said in a news release.
In a to Target Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel, Brindisi said, “… This data breach has potentially exposed my constituents to identity theft, fraudulent charges and undue stress.”
Brindisi said retailers, often citing the cost for upgrades to internal firewall systems, delay improvements to protect consumers.
Brindisi’s point is that criminals take advantage of this situation and expose any and all security weaknesses.
Brindisi said American consumers are the biggest target for retail and credit card data breaches, because unlike in Europe and in other countries, the United States still uses magnetic strips on the back of cards to store data.
In light of this, Brindisi is also pushing the Federal Trade Commission to speed-up the credit card industry plan to switch from magnetic strips to digital chips. Credit card companies in the U.S. plan to replace the strips by fall 2015, making data theft more difficult. Brindisi wants the transition to happen sooner.
“These breaches prove there is no time to waste. If these credit card companies and retailers fail to ensure consumer protections, we should hold them accountable, even if that means imposing fines. They’re willing to take a customer’s money, and so, they should be just as willing to protect them,” he said.