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Sharpsburg company cooperating in Target hacking investigation

A Pittsburgh-area business has gotten tangled in the recent hacking of Target stores throughout the United States. Hackers are believed to have installed malware in the checkout system for about 1,800 stores. It's estimated that, during the holiday season, the hackers accessed 40 million credit card and debit card numbers, along with the personal information of 70 million customers.

Now a heating and cooling business in the Pittsburgh area has been named as the third-party vendor the hackers used to infiltrate Target's checkout system. The heating and cooling company, which has said that it was also victimized by the hackers, is reportedly cooperating with Target and the federal government.

Given the complicated nature of the Internet, authorities often have difficulty pinpointing exactly how an individual or business may have been connected to a criminal offense. Individuals who believe they are even under investigation for a possible Internet crime would be wise to speak with a criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later. Investigators and prosecutors can make mistakes, and the job of a defense attorney is to help ensure that such mistakes don't lead to criminal charges or a wrongful conviction.

In this particular case, analysts initially thought the heating and refrigeration company, which is located in Sharpsburg, might have been in charge of remotely monitoring Target's heating and cooling systems. That scenario, which was later found not to be the case, might have allowed the hackers to enter the retail giant's computer systems.

It was later revealed, however, that the Sharpsburg company electronically submitted bills and proposals to Target and did not operate in a monitoring capacity.

This unfolding criminal investigation serves as a reminder of how easily an unsuspecting party can become entangled with evidence linked to an Internet crime. People who find themselves in this position often need legal guidance to get their lives back to normal life.

Source: PostBulletin.com, "Hackers may have used Pennsylvania company to hit Target," Joe Mandak, Feb. 7, 2014

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