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Sally Beauty Investigating Possible Data Breach

Officials at Sally Beauty Holdings are investigating a possible data breach involving payment cards used at some of its stores in the United States.

Officials at Sally Beauty Holdings are investigating a possible data breach involving payment cards used at some of its stores in the United States.

Sally Beauty is an international retailer and distributor of professional beauty supplies. In a statement, the company said it is working with law enforcement and its credit card processor, and has launched a “comprehensive investigation” with the help of third-party forensic experts to gather the facts.

“Until this investigation is completed, it is difficult to determine with certainty the scope or nature of any potential incident, but we will continue to work vigilantly to address any potential issues that may affect our customers,” according to the company.

Last year, the company was at the center of a data breach that affected thousands of customer records with payment card information.

“With hacks like these, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause,” said Andrew Avanessian, EVP of consultancy and technology services at security firm Avecto. “One possibility may lie with the POS systems which, in some organizations, are relatively antiquated. These tend to be legacy systems run on Windows XP for example which don’t get patched regularly. In many cases they are not connected to a domain under stringent controls and therefore they are relatively easy to penetrate. As organizations gradually roll-out chip and pin technology across the country, these breaches may start to decline.”

“The fact we continue to see retail breaches even after some of the mega breaches over the past year indicates two things,” noted Ken Westin, senior security analyst at Tripwire. “First, attackers are adapting their methods and the sophistication of their tools. Second, many retailers have yet to invest in detection and haven’t yet adapted their defenses to detect these very real threats.”

“The retail industry as a whole needs to move to point-to-point encryption (P2PE), which can come at a heavy cost because it often requires an overhaul of existing payment systems so this is not something that will happen quickly,” he added. 

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