Credit card information of Barnes & Noble customers at 63 stores across the country was stolen last month.
Although the breach was discovered in September, Barnes & Noble waited to disclose the information as it is being investigated by the FBI. A spokeswoman for the book store revealed that PIN pad devices used by customers to swipe debit and credit cards had been compromised in each store. The affected locations include Barnes & Noble stores in Florida, California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.
Barnes & Noble is encouraging customers who have shopped at one of their stores to change their debit card PIN, and notify their bank if unauthorized charges are made.
A similar incident happened in Florida earlier this month, when computer hackers stole confidential information of nearly 300,000 students across the state.
The hackers targeted Northwest Florida State College, but the information stolen involves student records from all over the state, as it is standard practice for financial aid administrators to download the entire state scholarship file. The information taken included social security numbers, birthdates, genders and names of students eligible for the Bright Futures Scholarship for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.
The hackers also stole more than 3,000 employee records, which included confidential financial data, such as personal bank account numbers. Officials believe the hackers have used the information to steal the identity of 67 people to get bank loans and open up credit cards.
Although the number one culprit is the hacker, businesses and organizations are responsible for the security of the confidential information of their clients. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission sued Wyndham Worldwide Hotels for lax security, which allowed hackers to access the credit card and personal information of its over 600,000 clients. Similar lawsuits have also been filed against BJ's Wholesale Club, Microsoft and LinkedIn, among others. Most resulted in agreements to institute stricter security measures.
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Source: CNN, "Barnes& Noble customer data stolen," Oct. 24, 2012.
The Miami Herald, "Officials: Security breach contained," Oct. 12, 2012.
Washington Post, "FTC sues Wyndham Hotels over hacker breaches," June, 26, 2012.