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Target can't dodge lawsuits from banks after huge data breach

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When Target was, well, targeted by hackers in search of customer payment information late last year, legal backlash from banks was probably one of the last things the company's brass was worried about. They've got to be singing a different tune now, as the New York Times reports that a United States District Judge has shot down Target's attempt to dismiss lawsuits brought on by banks displeased with the retailer's security chops.

Still a little hazy on what happened? Hackers made off with payment information that affected some 40 million credit and debit cards thanks to some tricky malware that struck store systems in December 2013. The company seemed just as surprised by the attack as the rest of us... until it was revealed that it disabled an automated anti-malware tool and ignored 12 days worth of breach alerts. It's that frankly ridiculous behavior that five banks have cited in the class action lawsuits they've filed, and now Target has no choice but to deal with them head on. The judge's ruling is a step in a new direction, one that opens up the possibility that Target - and other retailers like it - can and should be held financially responsible for their lousy security and lacking conduct. Three words: It's. About. Time.

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