Target Says PIN Numbers Stolen, But Still Safe

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By Larry Burkum

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Target customers have been looking at their bank statements and checking them twice. The retailer said today pin numbers from debit cards were stolen during the thefts which started Black Friday weekend.

Friday the company released a statement saying a forensic investigation has determined that encrypted pin numbers had been removed, as well as names and card numbers.

The breach happened between November 27th and December 15th, and affected about 40 million debit and credit cards used at Target.

In addition, card expiration dates and embedded codes on the magnetic strips on the back of the cards were also stolen.

Target says it is confident pin numbers are still safe and secure because the information was encrypted in its system.

In a statement released Friday, the company said:

"Target does not have access to nor does it store the encryption key within our system. The pin information is encrypted within Target's systems and can only be decrypted when it is received by our external, independent payment processor. What this means is that the "key" necessary to decrypt that data has never existed within Target's system and could not have been taken during this incident."

Shoppers say the breach has made them more cautious and aware.

Target says law enforcement officials have launched a forensic and criminal investigation into the breach.

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