Target's Security Breach: What Happens Now?

The Lempert Report
April 14, 2014

As a result of Target's massive security breach there is new impetus from the industry to secure data and make consumers feel safe again.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association - whose members include Target, Walmart and Publix, and run more than 100,000 stores, DCs and manufacturing sites – struck two partnerships in quick succession. First with the Financial Services Roundtable (banks and payment networks); the second is with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (to share information and guard against cyber threats).

At The Lempert Report we see this as long overdue, and although it unfortunately comes too late to save those effected through Target, it could help ensure a safer, more secure future for retailers, customers and suppliers.

While the scale of the Target breach was unprecedented, they are certainly not  the only retailer victimized. Data breaches have occurred in recent years at Neiman Marcus, 7-Eleven, Hannaford Brothers, BJ’s Wholesale Club and others, according to independent reports by Bloomberg and Reuters.

So while retailers figure out the next steps, what will consumers be doing?  Seems like cash may be the payment of choice. For example, new Kantar Retail Shopper Scape data says 9% of all shoppers and 13% of monthly Target/SuperTarget shoppers say they will “still shop at Target, but only pay with cash.”  Also, 11% of all shoppers and 12% of monthly Target/SuperTarget shoppers are “more likely to pay with cash going forward wherever I shop.” 

Consumers will probably pay cash more often, or choose payment systems such as PayPal that provide another layer between them and data thieves. For retailers that haven’t been compromised yet and may be understandably nervous you may find that whatever precautions you take, consumers are already too nervous.