WASHINGTON – Sears, the retailer run by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, is investigating a possible security breach after a series of cyberattacks on other retailers have exposed the data of millions of consumers.
The security review is still at an early stage as Verizon’s digital forensics unit and the U.S. Secret Service sift through the company’s computer data to look for traces of hackers and the extent of any incursion, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Sears, which is already working to reverse 28 straight quarters of declining sales, is now faced with fighting a possible hacking attack with shoppers on edge after a flurry of retail data breaches tarnished the image of merchants including Neiman Marcus and hurt sales at Target. Pinpointing the scope of an attack can take weeks because of the stealth techniques used by hackers.
An investigator who works as a consultant for major card issuers said the importance of a breach at Sears would be determined by whether it’s just in a few stores or in the company’s entire point of sale system. A compromise of the entire system, like those at Target and Neiman Marcus, would be far more serious, said Canh Tran, the chief executive officer of Rippleshot, a Chicago-based fraud detection company.