A customer signs a credit card statement next to a scanner in a Target store on December 19, 2013 in Miami, Florida.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is apologizing for the massive data breach that has compromised the personal information of up to 110 million customers.
He says he's also going to get to the bottom of what happened and make the necessary corrections so that it doesn't happen again.
The security breach was disclosed last month and is one of the largest of its kind. The stolen data includes the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of customers. That information can be sold to identity thieves.
Steinhafel was asked in a CNBC interview why it took the company four days to notify customers of the breach. He said they "wanted to make sure our stores and our call centers could be as prepared as possible," and added that "employees worked around the clock to try and do the right thing."
He also said he could only disclose so much because of the fact the company is in the middle of a criminal investigation. But he did say he is set on moving the company forward through this.
"Clearly, we're accountable and we're responsible," he said. " But we're gonna come out at the end of this a better company. And we're gonna make significant changes. I mean, that's-- that's what you do when you go through a period like this. You have to-- you have to learn from it and you have to apply those learnings. And we're committed to do that."
Steinhafel is pushing for new credit card technology for American consumers. It's a chip-and-PIN-number system called EMV technology that replaces the vulnerable magnetic strips. But that likely won't happen for shoppers in the U.S. until late 2015.
Meanwhile, Target customers are being encouraged to protect themselves by signing up for identity theft protection and to pay attention to their bank and credit card statements to keep an eye out for any irregularities.
And be careful of your emails. If you see an email that asks you to click a link to a site and provide sensitive information, stop and don't click or provide any data.