Skip to main content

Cyber security experts in Minneapolis as data breach concerns rise

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The nation's top cyber security experts are descending on Minneapolis this week after a year of high-profile data protection failures affecting millions of consumers.

The fourth annual Cyber Security Summit, being held at The Commons Hotel at the University of Minnesota, opened Tuesday as news broke that Staples is investigating a possible data breach in the Northeast, NBC reports.

If a breach occurred, the Massachusetts-based company would become the latest in a growing line of national chains targeted by hackers in the past 12 months, with notable others including Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase and, of course, Twin Cities retail giant Target.

Target was the victim of one of the biggest attacks in November and December last year, as hackers compromised around 40 million customers' credit and debit cards. Forbes put the total cost of the breach to shareholders at almost $150 million.

It is because of these major breaches that this year's Cyber Security Summit is considered to be the most important one yet, and a news release for the event says the issue of large-scale breaches will be tackled head on by the 300 government, business and academic experts in attendance.

Gov. Mark Dayton has named October in Minnesota "Cyber Security Awareness Month" and said residents need to play a role themselves by learning more about online security, according to an announcement on the summit's website.

He says:

"The State of Minnesota recognizes that it has a vital role in identifying, protecting, and responding to cyber threats, which may have a significant impact to our individual and collective security and privacy.

"Maintaining the security of cyberspace is a shares responsibility in which each of us has a critical role to play, and awareness of computer security essentials will improve the security of the Minnesota information infrastructure and economy."

Vulnerable companies

An annual study reported in USA Today has revealed that a shocking 43 percent of companies admit they have suffered a data breach in the last year.

Michael Breuhmer, vice president of credit reference agency Experian, told the newspaper that as well as data breaches becoming more regular, they are also becoming larger in size.

In Minnesota, the Pioneer Press reports that 2 percent of investment advisers handling assets of under $100 million said they have been victims of cyber security attacks that resulted in the loss of confidential client information in the past year.

This is above the national average of 1.1 percent, the newspaper reports, and the survey also revealed that 19 percent of advisers don't have cyber security policies and procedures in place.

Shoppers 'should not avoid Target'

Despite suffering a monumental data breach at the end of 2013, shoppers shouldn't fear shopping at Target, according to a piece by Time.

The magazine says card holders who had their credit or debit card details stolen have limited liability, so shouldn't lose any money provided they report any fraudulent charges within 60 days of getting their statement.

It points out that Target is one of the companies that has pledged to introduce the safer "chip and pin" card payments system, which is backed by the government and already widespread in Europe.

Time also highlights that because Target has already been the victim of a major hack, it has put in place even stricter security procedures and is offering customers free credit monitoring.

Coding classes 'are cool'

Pressure is growing on Minnesota's schools to do more to give their students the computer skills they need to succeed in future decades, the Star Tribune reports.

Minnetonka is the only school district in the state to have incorporated coding into its curriculum, and the rising interest among school-age children means that more districts are considering following suit.

Interest in youth coding events such as CoderDojo Twin Cities, held at the University of Minnesota twice a month, has exploded, with registration filling up within minutes and similar classes being spawned elsewhere in the state, the Star Tribune says.

"We are witnessing a massive change in how the world views coding," Rebecca Schatz, founder of youth coding nonprofit Code Savvy, told the Star Tribune. "It's entrepreneurial, it's progressive, it's where the jobs are. Coding is cool."

Next Up

Jason Hackett

New face joining KARE 11's 'Sunrise' morning show

Jason Hackett will be joining Alicia Lewis and Guy Brown on KARE 11's morning show.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 4.04.09 PM

Armed robbery suspect sought in two south metro investigations

The incidents took place at credit unions in Savage and Apple Valley.


Former Twin Cities plastic surgeon charged with sex crimes

Christopher Kovanda is accused of inappropriately touching woman under the guise of providing medical care.

Screen Shot 2022-11-15 at 4.23.26 PM

Minnesota man accused of murder in Chicago is arrested in Alabama

A 26-year-old man from a small town on the Iowa border is accused of murdering a Greyhound bus employee.


Support for Shakopee Public Schools employee diagnosed with cancer

The media specialist has been transitioned to hospice care recently.


Big November snowstorms uncommon in MN, but snowfall is increasing

This week's 8.4 inches at MSP Airport was one of the biggest November storms in the Twin Cities since 1991.


Minnesota nurses take vote on whether to hold second strike

The results will be determined Wednesday night.

unsplash medical marijuana

OCD, irritable bowel syndrome added to MN's medical marijuana list

They are the two latest qualifying medical conditions for Minnesota's marijuana program.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 9.27.45 AM

Fundraiser created for family-owned Cô Tu' Oriental Cuisine after shooting

Support from the community will go towards medical expenses and overhead costs for the restaurant.

Erica Shameka Roberts

Police: Minnesota murder suspect arrested in Texas

Erica Roberts has been on the run since March.


Jackknifed semis close I-35 northbound near Faribault

There are icy conditions across Minnesota