FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2008 file photo, a customer signs his credit card receipt at a Target store in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)
About a month after consumers learned of a massive security breach at thousands of Target stores, the company issued a written apology in major U.S. newspapers.
"Our top priority is taking care of you and helping you feel confident about shopping at Target, and it is our responsibility to protect your information when you shop with us," Target President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel wrote. "We didn't live up to that responsibility, and I am truly sorry."
Target announced in December that payment data for roughly 40 million customers who used credit and debit cards in their stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 was at risk.
Last week the company found the breach also included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for at least 70 million customers. As many as 110 million may have been impacted overall.
Steinhafel wrote in the letter, published in papers including USA Today and Chicago Tribune, that Target moved "as swiftly as we could to address the problem once it became known" and the company continues to respond to customer concerns and guard against another breach.
Target has closed the access point that criminals used to steal customers' data and removed the malware they left behind, Steinhafel said. A team of security experts also was hired to investigate what happened.
The company is offering one year of free credit monitoring and identify theft protection to all guests who shopped at U.S. stores, and Steinhafel said shoppers will have zero liability for any fraudulent charges.
"I know this breach has had a real impact on you," he said, "creating a great deal of confusion and frustration. I share those feelings. You expect more from us and deserve better. We want to earn back your trust and confidence and ensure that we deliver the Target experience you know and love."