Kmart has confirmed falling victim to a cyber attack that managed to infect its point of sale systems with a mysterious "new form of malware".
Alasdair James, president and chief member officer at the chain of discount department stores, revealed the breach in a public alert on its website, explaining that the incident occurred on an unspecified day in September.
"On Thursday 9 October our IT team detected that our Kmart store payment data system had been breached, and immediately launched a full investigation working with a leading IT security firm," read the alert.
"The security experts report that, beginning in early September, the payment data systems at Kmart stores were purposely infected with a new form of malware. This resulted in debit and credit card numbers being compromised."
James said that the hackers were unable to steal key information such as customers' debit card Pins, email addresses and Social Security numbers. He added that the firm has successfully purged its systems of the malware and is working with law enforcement to find the hackers.
"This data breach has been contained and the malware has been removed. I sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our members and customers," read the statement.
"Given the criminal nature of this attack, Kmart is working closely with federal law enforcement authorities, our banking partners as well as security experts in this ongoing investigation."
Kmart is one of many firms to suffer a data breach in recent months. Financial services provider JPMorgan reported that hackers had successfully compromised data belonging to 76 million households and seven million small to medium sized businesses on 3 October.
Hackers managed to compromise the financial information of 70 million Target customers in 2013. The breach was so severe that it led Target's then US chief executive Gregg Steinhafel to step down in May.
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