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Danielle Douglas
The Washington Post|washingtonpost.com

A Target executive warned Congress that credit card breaches, such as the one that affected up to 110 million of its customers, are going to become very common and there may be little retailers can do to shield shoppers for now.

“The unfortunate reality is that we suffered a breach, and all businesses — and their customers — are facing increasingly sophisticated threats from cyber criminals,” Target chief financial officer John J. Mulligan told lawmakers at a hearing. “In fact, recent news reports have indicated that several other companies have been subjected to similar attacks.”

A Neiman Marcus executive chimed in at the hearing, saying its anti-virus software was virtually useless. It didn’t detect when its credit card systems were being hacked. As a result, the company did not learn of the intrusion until the beginning of January, even though the attacks occurred between July and October, said senior vice president Michael Kingston. read more »


A federal judge has given Visa and MasterCard the go-ahead on a $5.7 billion class-action settlement to resolve merchant complaints over the fees they are charged each time a customer swipes a credit or debit card.

The ruling on Dec. 13 comes after years of litigation and ushers in the largest private antitrust settlement in history. Yet it is not enough to quell the anger of retailers, who say the agreement does not prevent the credit card giants from imposing higher fees with impunity.

“We are very disappointed that this deeply flawed settlement has been approved,” Mallory Duncan, general counsel at the National Retail Federation, said in a prepared statement. “It is not supported by the retail industry and would do nothing to reduce swipe fees or keep them from rising in the future.” read more »


WASHINGTON — After months of tense negotiations, the Justice Department finalized a record $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase to resolve allegations that the bank knowingly sold faulty mortgage securities that contributed to the financial crisis.

This marks the largest penalty ever levied against a single company and represents a colossal win for the government after years of public criticism over its struggle to hold Wall Street accountable for crisis-era sins. It is also a tremendous black eye for a bank once lauded as the nation’s strongest financial institution to emerge from the crisis.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is a member of President Obama’s mortgage task force that helped negotiate the deal, announced the details of the settlement Nov. 19. read more »

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