Russian Hackers Suspected of Mass Target Data Breach

Russian hackers may have preyed on customers of U.S. retailer Target Davide Restivo

Russian hackers may have been involved in a recent attack that compromised millions of credit- and debit-card accounts and personal data for customers of leading U.S. discount retailer Target, a news report said.

According to a report prepared by federal and private investigators, parts of the malicious computer code used against Target's card readers during the holiday season were written in Russian, unidentified people familiar with the report said, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The newspaper did not specify what parts of computer code the investigators might have been referring to.

While computer code is written in programming languages, it frequently includes functions and variables that the authors of the code can name in any way they like. For instance, a Russian word may be used as the name of a specific function.

Former U.S. officials said the attack may have ties to organized crime in the former Soviet Union.

The security breach stoked concerns that millions of Target customers could become vulnerable to identity theft.

Target, the second-largest discount store in the U.S., said the personal data of 70 million customers — including their names, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses — may have fallen into hackers' hands.

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