April 06, 2007, 12:51 PM — I drive by the Framingham, Mass. headquarters of TJX Companies Inc. almost every day. From the outside, nothing seems amiss at the company that runs the huge T.J. Maxx (821 stores), Marshalls (748), HomeGoods (270), A.J. Wright (129), and Bob's Stores (36) retail chains, plus others abroad. But this is the company that has had more than 47 million customer credit cards, drivers' licenses and other information stolen over a period of five years. That's five years, people.
Dumb? Stupid? Naive? Ignorant? Arrogant? In my personal opinion, most likely yes to all. It's the biggest heist ever.
These descriptions would seem to apply from the top down in a systemic way, unlike the sole poor slob at the Alaska Department of Revenue who was just trying to do his job. Unfortunately, the dept.'s technician wiped out a hard drive containing information on an account with $38 billion in assets. Yikes! But not to worry, there's a backup, right? Oops, he did it again, reformatting the backup drive, too.
For your reading enjoyment, I've pulled a few salient nuggets directly from the Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 28 for year ending Jan. 27, 2007. You just can't make this stuff up:
"We suffered an unauthorized intrusion into portions of our computer systems that process and store information related to customer transactions that we believe resulted in the theft of customer data. We do not know who took this action and
whether there were one or more intruders involved