Breach at Forever 21 Exposed Customer Credit Card Information

By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

CNET reports that if customers have ever shopped at a store of Forever 21 this year, there is a possibility that their credit card information may have been stolen. This week, the retail store confirmed that between the 3rd of April and the 18th of November of this year, some point of sale terminals at their stores across the United States were breached. While it has not revealed any numbers on how many of their customers were affected, Forever 21 did say that in most of the cases, expiration dates, verification codes, card numbers, but not the names of the cardholder, were obtained by the hackers. However, in some of the cases, some names were also obtained.

Encryption is normally used by the store in order to protect its payment processing system. However, in some stores, the encryption was sometimes turned off, having their point of sale terminals exposed to malware. Not every terminal in the affected stores was infected with the malware, and not every store was affected during the full-time period of the said breach. In some of the cases, credit card data that was stored in certain system logs prior to the 3rd of April were also exposed.

Forever 21 stated that payment processing systems outside of the United States work differently. However, they said that the company was investigating whether non-US stores were also affected. Purchases that were made through its website were not affected by the breach.

This year, GameStop and Chipotle suffered similar breaches while HEI, a hotel giant, announced that it was struck with the same type of data breach in 2016.

Forever 21 said in a statement: “In addition to addressing encryption, Forever 21 is continuing to work with security firms to enhance its security measures. We also continue to work with the payment card networks so that the banks that issue payment cards can be made aware of this incident. Lastly, we will continue to support law enforcement’s investigation of this incident.”