Receiving Wide Coverage ...

Target Breach Update: The Secret Service is looking at arrests made in a Texas credit card fraud case for possible links to Target's massive data breach, reports the Journal. The paper also reports that the malware used against Target was on sale in black markets a year ago for $2,000. "That life cycle … shows the new nature of the threat faced by American retailers hoping to defend themselves from attacks," the Journal notes. And the Times has a deep dive on the data breach that's similarly sure to have some people echoing this BankThink contributor's call to make retailers responsible for data breaches. "Interviews with people knowledgeable about the investigation, cybersecurity and credit experts and consumers shows that Target's system was particularly vulnerable to attack," the article notes. "It was remarkably open, experts say, which enabled hackers to wander from system to system, scooping up batches of information." Banks play a small, but pivotal role in the Times story. JPMorgan Chase — yes, JPM — is credited with alerting credit card companies that fraud was showing up on cards used at Target right around the time the Secret Service contacted the retailer about the same pattern. Later, an anonymouse at an unspecified big bank tipped off a prominent security blogger about the breach after he was able to purchase a large batch of cards from an underground site. Meanwhile, the Washington Post highlights "the one weird trick the U.S. could use to stop major fraud in its tracks". (Spoiler Alert: It's EMV cards.)

Wall Street Journal

Banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America and JPM, are electing to pass over financing lucrative deals in order not to run afoul of new regulatory guidance meant to keep firms away from deals laden with too much debt. "The new push could make deals more costly for private-equity firms, which rely on banks to lend much of the borrowed money that helps fuel their corporate takeovers," the paper notes, before adding this increasingly familiar refrain. "It could also create opportunity for other firms, such as some securities dealers, that aren't regulated like banks and thus aren't subject to the same strict regimen of regulation over lending."

Standard & Poor's continues to mount a retaliation defense against the $5 billion fraud lawsuit the Justice Department filed against it last February. In its latest move, S&P alleges then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned its chairman that the firm would be held accountable for its 2011 U.S. downgrade three days after it took place. A DOJ spokeswoman tells the paper there was "absolutely no connection" between the downgrade and its lawsuit.

Financial Times

Anonymous tweeter @GSElevator has parlayed his or her steady stream of Goldman Sachs gossip into a book deal with Simon & Schuster. The author's tell-all book about life at Goldman — tentatively entitled "Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking" — is due out this October. "News of the book deal will come as a disappointment to Goldman, which has been attempting to redefine its relationship with social media and revamp the bank's public image in the wake of the financial crisis," the paper notes.

Failed finance chiefs should keep out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, set to begin Wednesday, writes editor Patrick Jenkins. "Even among those who have reinvented themselves successfully, few can claim fully fledged reintegration into the echelons of the great and the good," he argues. "The vast majority of the old stars seem unwilling or unable to shine again."

New York Times

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen — whose firm has invested more than $50 million in Bitcoin-related startups — on why the cryptocurrency matters: "Bitcoin offers a sweeping vista of opportunity to reimagine how the financial system can and should work in the Internet era, and a catalyst to reshape that system in ways that are more powerful for individuals and businesses alike.

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