Over 1,000 Companies in U.S. Targeted by Hackers

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The data of millions and millions of shoppers might be in the hands of computer hackers as attacks on retail stores in the U.S. become more common, said Homeland Security on Friday.

The DHS in an advisory said over 1,000 businesses in the U.S. had been victimized by hacker malware, which targets the systems on cash registers and steals the personal and financial information of customers following the swiping of their debit or credit cards.

The DHS specifically warned retailers of the malware known as Backoff. This malware was discovered in October and the most recent computer system infected were 51 UPS stores across the country.

That breach compromised the data on more than 105,000 transactions by customers at UPS stores from January of this year through August.

The company does not believe any customers were affected by fraud from the infection of malware, but it fears the hackers might have stolen names of shoppers, payment information and email addresses.

The company because of the hack is offering free identity protection to its customers that made a transaction in one of its 51 stores affected by the malware.

Supervalu the grocery chain in the U.S. was also victimized by a cyber attack. Two hundred of its grocery as well as liquor stores were hit this summer, with a malware infection from June 22 to July 17.

Through July, Backoff had been undetectable by software for viruses, which is how it was able to steal information for long periods from companies.

One security analyst said that Backoff is not that different from other forms of malware, except it is designed to target computer systems of high value.

Once the hacker figured they were able to get into the larger networks the opportunity presented itself to develop the malware specifically for debit and credit cards that can remain undetected by antivirus software.

Another reason it has gone undetected is that Backoff is not distributed widely on the Internet.

Now companies are instituting better measures for safety on their systems.

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