Internet security provider warns businesses to learn from TK Maxx’s security breach

The cost to TK Maxx following the theft of almost 46m credit card details from its computer systems in the UK and US was a reported $256m (£128m).

Tom Newton, product manager at internet security provider SmoothWall, suggests that other businesses should learn from TK Maxx’s misfortune and ensure that every conceivable security breach is considered.

Newton commented: “TK Maxx was an unfortunate target of a well-organised criminal gang, but that fact that it was a victim for almost 18 months suggests that the company had fundamental security weaknesses. Other businesses should learn from this and ensure that customer data is limited to only those places it is absolutely necessary - it's easier to secure a small number of data stores well than to protect many badly.

He added: “What interested me about this case is that the damage to the organisation has been quantified in its quarterly earnings report. TK Maxx’s sales were not initially damaged, but over time the full impact of the breach has been assessed, and frankly it is terrifying. While a $256 million price tag is lesson enough, what about the intangible effects on brand reputation? Businesses should be seeing this as the most critical aspect for if customers lose faith in you, what chance of recovery? Suddenly the price of a firewall seems inconsequential.