The November-December 2013 security breach that left more than 40 million Target customers affected by a data breach has risen to 70 million customers.

Target logo Target breach affected around 70 million users

Popular retailer Target publicly confirmed a security breach late last year actually affected close to 70 million U.S. in-store customers, which is a drastic increase from early estimates of 40 million affected.

The stolen information of the 70 million individuals includes full names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, encrypted debit card PIN data, and debit and credit card numbers and security codes.

TARGET222 Target breach affected around 70 million users

“I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken ad we are truly sorry they are having to endure this,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target President and CEO, in a public blog post.  “I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.”

Target customers will have zero-liability for any fraudulent activity that is discovered following the breach.  The company is now providing one-year of credit monitoring to ensure guests have secure debit and credit accounts.  Expect additional details related to the data breach in the coming months, as Target continues to work with a third-party digital forensics team.

This is a major issue for Target and other retailers that will learn at the expensive of the popular U.S. retailer – and there has been increased focus on Internet-based activity – but brick and mortar retailers simply cannot ignore in-store credit and debit threats. Despite a recovering U.S. economy in which customers were willing to spend, physical retailers suffered during the holidays – and these types of threats will only drive more shoppers online.