Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed on Wednesday that the Justice Department was investigating the massive hacking of consumer data from retailer Target during the holiday shopping season.
Testifying at a Senate hearing, Holder said the department would seek not only to find the perpetrators, but also "any individuals and groups who exploit that data via credit card fraud.''
Target has said a breach of its networks resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records with customer information such as addresses and telephone numbers.
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The Secret Service, a branch of the Treasury Department, usually takes the lead in credit card breach investigations for the federal government.
In his statement to senators, Holder said the Justice Department took reports of data breaches seriously.
"While we generally do not discuss specific matters under investigation, I can confirm the department is investigating the breach involving the U.S.retailer, Target,'' he said.
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Reuters reported on Jan. 23 that the FBI had warned U.S.retailers to prepare for more cyberattacks after discovering about 20 hacking cases over the past year that involved the same kind of malicious software used against Target during the holiday shopping season.