Staples Data Breach Affects Over A Million ‘Back To School’ Shoppers

Staples released an update on the September data breach of its point-of-sale systems, saying that 1.16 million customers may have had their information stolen by hackers. The company is still investigating the breach, but in the meantime they’re offering free credit monitoring services for potential victims. The attack seems like more of the same, as major U.S. retailers — along with at least one movie studio — have been suffering from an increasing number of data thefts.

With Sony still reeling from the embarrassing costs of its own cyber break-in, it’s good to know that old-fashioned data theft is still quite popular. Staples reports that an estimated 1.16 million card holders’ information was compromised in an attack that occurred from August until September.

That seems like a minor breach compared to the slew of other recent attacks on major retailers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Home Depot lost the information of 56 million users last spring, and in the famous Target breach, about 40 million customers lost private information to hackers.

Neiman Marcus Group, PF Chang’s, and even Goodwill thrift stores were also on the Journal’s list for recent data breaches. Many of the victims had to change their credit card numbers and monitor their accounts with extra scrutiny.

Staples’ attack means more of the same — the sense of insecurity that if you used your card, it might already be compromised.

Staples would not say who the hackers were, but the Massachusetts company did reveal that the culprits infected cash registers and payment terminals in 115 stores during the popular “back to school” shopping season. More specifically, information on any purchases made between August 10, 2014 through September 16, 2014 could have been picked up in the data breach. Staples also said in their statement that hackers infected two stores earlier, and they were affected from July 20, 2014.

Staples says they have improved their cyber security systems to prevent future breaches, and they are working closely with law enforcement and credit card companies to monitor the situation. Still, the company’s data woes don’t seem to be on the minds of customers or stock holders.

According to Bloomberg News, Staples was not all that affected by the data breach. The company’s stock remained steady after gaining 10 percent on the year, although Amazon remains a threat in sales.

Considering that Staples has over 1,400 stores, the likely-hood that casual shoppers will need to worry is low. Still, Staples is offering free identity theft tools to customers, including credit monitoring, identity theft insurance, and a free credit report.

For more information on how to sign up for Staples credit monitoring, or the data breach in general, click here.

[Image Credit: Anthony92931/Wikimedia Commons]