Make us your home page

Target CEO pledges 'to get to the bottom' of data breach

MINNEAPOLIS — Target's chief executive started the week Monday trying to assure consumers that his company will figure out who stole personal information on tens of millions of its customers, and he apologized for the massive data breach, which he said has been mended.

"As time goes on, we're going to get to the bottom of this," Gregg Steinhafel, Target's president and CEO, said Monday on CNBC. "We're not going to rest until we understand what happened and how that happened."

Steinhafel said the breach occurred when hackers installed malware on the Minneapolis-based company's point-of-sale registers. Steinhafel declined to outline the changes being made in an effort to protect customers' personal information, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.

Target said hackers stole the personal information of up to 110 million customers, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses, through their credit and debit cards.

Steinhafel said he learned about the data breach on the morning of Dec. 15. He added that "my heart sunk" and he has had many "sleepless nights" since his company's troubles began.

The company announced the breach Dec. 19, and Steinhafel explained it took several days for the company to reveal it because officials first had to make sure its data system was safe, then prepare employees and set up call centers to handle inquiries from the public.

"We've tried to be very transparent and very clear," he said.

He said he's also aware of how Target customers are feeling: "No one screens my email," Steinhafel said. "So I have read every single email that has come to me.

"It has run the gamut of emotions from 'I'm with you, Target' and I've had the other side of that equation to where there's been some very poorly chosen words to describe Target and myself," he said.

In a full-page ad in Monday's Star Tribune, Steinhafel said his company's "top priority is take care of you and helping you feel confident about shopping at Target, and it is our responsibility to protect your information when you shop with us. … We didn't live up to that responsibility, and I am truly sorry."

He said the company "moved as swiftly as we could to address the problem," having closed the "access point that the criminal used" and hired security experts to determine how "criminals forced their way into our systems."

Target CEO pledges 'to get to the bottom' of data breach 01/13/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 13, 2014 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena


    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  3. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]