Target says that its stores have been hit by a major credit-card attack involving up to 40 million accounts. Greg Steinhafel, CEO of Target, confirmed the attack today.

The company early Thursday confirmed a data breach may have affected about 40 million credit card and debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Target said it alerted authorities and financial institutions immediately after it found out about the unauthorized access. It added that it is joining with a forensics firm to conduct an investigation into the incident.

The breach involves the theft of information stored on magnetic stripe on the backs of cards used at nearly all of Target’s stores around the country, according to the Krebs on Security website, which first reported the news.

The potential breach does not appear to involve online purchases.

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