Brooks Brothers Discovers Cyber Attack that Continued for 11 Months

Media Division | May 15, 2017

With news of the recent global cyber attack and the many others that continue to take place, it is quite obvious how prominent they are in this day and age.  There is one large issue that arises in many cases of cyber attacks, and that is the fact that they are often not discovered for quite some time.  Some organizations are able to discover breaches within a matter of hours or days, but others, unfortunately, go unnoticed for extended periods of time.  In one of the most recent cases like this, clothier Brooks Brothers had announced on Friday that they had suffered a cyber attack that lasted 11 months.

The attack is said to have affected those who made a purchase at certain store locations within the United States and Puerto Rico between April 4, 2016, and March 1, 2017. The target of the attack was credit card information, and those who made purchases at the affected stores in the time period above could have had their card information compromised. This includes the cardholder name, account number, expiration date, and security code.  Brooks Brothers had said that no sensitive information like Social Security numbers was exposed in the breach and that online purchases were not affected.

How Brooks Brothers Was Breached

The method of attack was malware that was installed on their payment processing systems. Since the discovery of the incident, the issue has been resolved.  Brooks Brothers said in a statement, “While we are continuing to review and enhance our security measures moving forward to help prevent a future incident, we can confirm that this issue has been resolved and is no longer impacting transactions.” Once the breach had been discovered, they had immediately hired forensic analysts, notified authorities, as well as launched an internal investigation. And while it appears that they took proper steps to address the breach internally, they seem to be displaying a somewhat neglectful attitude toward the impact on their customers. They simply advised customers to review their card statements for any suspicious activity and report it to their card issuer if it arises. They had also set up a call center for any questions in regard to the incident. While it is not necessarily a requirement, many organizations will offer affected customers assistance by providing a free year of a credit monitoring service.  But, Brooks Brothers seems to be displaying a more lackadaisical attitude, which does not instill much confidence of care in their customers.

The Value of Cyber Security Monitoring

With breaches like this going undiscovered for months, organizations need to place much more attention on comprehensive cyber security monitoring.  Proper monitoring allows for threats, indicators of compromise (IoC), and breaches to be immediately detected before they can cause further damage. A good monitoring platform can alert IT staff or an analyst in regard to anomalies or indicators, which they can then immediately investigate and address if necessary. Of course, when proper monitoring is not in place, these IoCs can easily go unnoticed, and a cyber criminal can be free to wreak havoc for an extended period of time.  In fact, the extended periods that attackers are able to remain in systems is often what allows them to cause so much damage, being that if they were expelled quickly, they would not be able to do near as much. Massive Alliance’s cyber security monitoring services can allow an organization to have increased awareness over all of their networks and systems.

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