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Exclusive: FBI warns retailers to expect more credit card breaches

The FBI has warned U.S. retailers to prepare for more cyber attacks after discovering about 20 hacking cases in the past year that involved the same kind of malicious software used against Target Corp in the holiday shopping season.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation distributed a confidential, three-page report to retail companies last week describing the risks posed by "memory-parsing" malware that infects point-of-sale (POS) systems, which include cash registers and credit-card swiping machines found in store checkout aisles.

"We believe POS malware crime will continue to grow over the near term, despite law enforcement and security firms' actions to mitigate it," said the FBI report, seen by Reuters.

"The accessibility of the malware on underground forums, the affordability of the software and the huge potential profits to be made from retail POS systems in the United States make this type of financially motivated cyber crime attractive to a wide range of actors," the FBI said.

The report was dated January 17 and entitled "Recent Cyber Intrusion Events Directed Toward Retail Firms." A spokeswoman for the FBI confirmed the agency had issued the report as part of efforts to share information about threats with the private sector.

 

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