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Target Glitch Leads to Long Lines

The retailer claims security is not the root cause for checkout delays.

Target breach

U.S. retailer Target suffered technical difficulties with its checkout payment systems on Sunday, June 15. Reports from around the country, including Target locations in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, indicate that the systems trouble led to long lines at the cash registers. The company, however, is not blaming hackers for the incident. Target was the victim of a data breach in December that affected 70 million customers, which has put the company's security practices in the spotlight.

"We’ve identified a checkout issue at select stores," Target noted in a Twitter post at 12:06 a.m. ET on June 16. "The issue is not related to security and is being resolved. We apologize to those impacted."

Sixteen minutes later, at 12:22 a.m. ET on June 16, Target updated the status on the system issue.

"Thanks for your patience. We've resolved the issue that impacted service at our check-out lanes," Target stated. "Once again, we sincerely apologize."

The system issues came on a busy Father's Day weekend for Target and at a time when the company is still reorganizing its infrastructure and organization to deal with the aftermath of the December data breach.

Target first disclosed that it was the victim of a data breach on Dec. 19, 2013. In January of this year, the company revealed that 70 million customers were affected by the data breach, likely due to a security compromise of the company's point-of-sale (PoS) payment system infrastructure.

In the wake of the December data breach, Target's CIO, Beth Jacob, a 12-year veteran of the company, resigned her post on March 5. She wasn't the only executive to move on from the company as a result of the data breach either.

On May 5, then Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced that he was leaving his job after a 35-year career with the company.

On a proactive front, Target has been busy this year fortifying its organizational and technical infrastructure. Its new CIO, Bob DeRodes, started with the company on May 5, bringing with him a career that includes experience working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

One of the key new initiatives under way at Target is a move toward implementing Chip and PIN credit card security. Like most American retailers, Target relies on magnetic stripe credit cards, which are not as secure as Chip and PIN. Target has pledged to implement Chip and PIN for its own REDcard-branded credit and debit cards by 2015.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.