According to recent reports in eWeek (links below), massive amounts of data, dating back to 2003, were stolen from TJX (T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods stores) over an extended period of time, starting in 2005. The breach, or intrusion as TJX prefers to call it, was not discovered until December 2006.
This is just the latest story in the ongoing issue of data security. Companies need to get their acts together and ensure that they are protecting the personal and private data of their customers. It may be time for the government to step in and create financial incentives for companies to do this. Of course, the Federal government and many state and local governments are guilty of not protecting the personal and private data of its citizens either, so they would also have to fine themselves (not likely). So this problem will continue to be a major problem until the public starts making its voice heard and making this a priority for government and corporations to take more seriously.
Here are the links to the TJX story:
Stolen TJX Data Used in $8M Scheme Before Breach Discovery
TJX: Data Theft Began in 2005; Data Taken from 2003
The Kuper Report