Sally Beauty confirms payment card data breach

One of the largest retailers of beauty products had recently upgraded its POS systems in the US

Sally Beauty Holdings confirmed Monday that it fell victim to a data breach, an incident that may have coincided with a project to update point-of-sale terminals at its U.S. stores, a recent regulatory filing shows.

The Denton, Texas, based company, which has more than half of its 4,669 stores in the U.S., said it found evidence that fewer than 25,000 records containing credit card data were accessed and possibly removed, according to a statement.

That follows its statement on March 5 that it was investigating "rumors" of a breach but had no reason to believe any credit card or consumer data had been lost.

The data it now says was likely stolen is known as "Track 2" card data. Payment cards have a magnetic stripe on the back that contains three data tracks. Track 2 data contains only the card number and expiration data. Track 1 data contains the card number, expiration data and cardholder's name, and Track 3 is rarely used.

Forensic investigators from Verizon are working with Sally Beauty along with the U.S. Secret Service.

"As experience has shown in prior data security incidents at other companies, it is difficult to ascertain with certainty the scope of a data security breach/incident prior to the completion of a comprehensive forensic investigation," the company said.

"As a result, we will not speculate as to the scope or nature of the data security incident," it said.

A representative of a public relations firm for Sally Beauty said the company could not comment further.

Sally Beauty's annual report for fiscal 2013 shows the company undertook large IT infrastructure upgrade projects worldwide, including installing a new POS system for 2,450 stores in the U.S.

Target and Neiman Marcus blamed recent data breaches on malicious software that had been installed on POS systems, which are modern, software-driven cash registers that process card payments.

Target's POS terminals were infected with a type of malware called a "RAM scraper." The malware recorded payment card details after a card was swiped and the unencrypted data briefly sat in a system's memory.

Sally Beauty wrote in its annual report that the POS system is expected to provide benefits such as enhanced tracking of customer sales and store inventory reports.

The annual report does not specify the kind of POS system it had installed. The company said many of its IT systems are "proprietary, and as a result our options are limited in seeking third-party assistance with the operation and upgrade of those systems."

It warned that the upgrades could affect its business, writing that one risk factor is that "we may be adversely affected by any disruption in our information technology systems."

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags TargetSally Beautysecuritydata breachNeiman Marcusmalware

More about VerizonVerizon

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place