In what is surely one of many data breaches to come in 2007, The TJX Companies revealed that its customers' private data has been compromised. Owner of several retail chains, TJX said that the company network that handles its credit card, debit card, check, and merchandise return transactions had been broken into.
While TJX isn't yet sure how many customers were affected, it did say the breach could affect customers of its "T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and A.J. Wright stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and its Winners and HomeSense stores in Canada, and may involve customers of its T.K. Maxx stores in the U.K. and Ireland. The intrusion could also extend to TJX’s Bob’s Stores in the U.S."
The breach became known to TJX in December 2006, at which point, the company alerted authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Secret Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The company withheld knowledge of the breach from the public until recently at the request of law enforcement agencies. TJX said it also "immediately engaged General Dynamics Corporation and IBM Corporation" to get help in evaluating the intrusion and extent of the data loss, as well as correcting the security lapses in the network.
TJX recently announced its December 2006 sales figures, stating that in the last 5 weeks of 2006, the company recorded $2.5 billion in sales, which represents a 10 percent increase over the same time period in 2005. The company said that isn't certain yet how the data breach will affect its sales going forward.