Michaels security breach lasted 8 months, affected millions

Posted at 12:13 PM, Apr 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-18 19:15:36-04

RICHMOND, Va. (CNN Money/WTVR) -- Computer hackers are at it again - this time at Michaels Arts and Craft stores.

A security breach at Michaels Stores lasted eight months and affected about 3 million customers, the company said Thursday. The news comes three months after the nation's largest crafts chain told customers it learned of a possible hack. It's been investigating since then.

The initial Michaels announcement came just weeks after Target also disclosed it was hacked.

"All of the stores should have come more prepared. I mean if it happened once, obviously they can do it again," said Juliana Doebler, a regular customer in the chain store.

The company says nearly 3 million customers have been impacted by the data breach that lasted over eight months.

Blaire Borum just got the news and was surprised that he hadn't found out about the incident sooner.

"Definitely, it's concerning. Especially, the fact that nobody's heard about it until now," said Blaire Borum.

Hackers broke into the retailers' highly sophisticated malware system, stealing credit and debit card numbers, and expiration dates. However, the company says customers names and pin numbers have not compromised. Not all stores were impacted and a "limited number" of those cards were subsequently used fraudulently, Michaels said.

"We want you to know we have identified and fully contained the incident, and we can assure you the malware no longer presents a threat to customers while shopping at Michaels or Aaron Brothers," CEO Chuck Rubin wrote in a post on the company's website.

Virginia Credit Union is using a new type of technology to protect its customers. Glenn Birch, Director of Public Relations of Virginia Credit Union, says that the credit union rolled out new credit cards in March with security microchips to its 60-thousand card holders.

"Duplicating the card will be much more difficult," Birch said. "That card contains an EMV chip or chip technology that provides an added layer of security when the card is used at a chip terminal."

In the meantime, Birch advises customers to pay attention to their bank statements and avoid becoming a victim.

If you shopped at Michaels Arts and Crafts between May of 2013 to January of 2014, the company has set up a toll free number to call for more information about the massive security breach.

The company is offering impacted customers free credit monitoring services for one year. Customers should call 1-877-412-7145.