Nightly News   |  January 12, 2014

Target CEO: We’re sorry

In an exclusive interview, Target’s CEO apologizes for a massive security breach that left millions of customers vulnerable and details actions the company is taking to fix it. NBC News’ Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> retail giant target is speaking out tonight about one of the largest breaches ever of consumer data and his company's response to the crisis. it's been almost a week since target confirmed cyber thieves made away with credit card data for its customers. since then we've learned pin numbers were also stolen. on friday home addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers were also part of the haul, exposing the personal information of up to 70 million more people. in an exclusive interview tonight, target's ceo is opening up about the bridge and what he plans to do about it. nbc's kristen dahlgren has the story.

>> reporter: for the first time since target's massive data breach in december, we are hearing from the man in charge.

>> i was devastated. i mean, how could this happen to target?

>> reporter: a question many want answered. in an exclusive interview with cnbc's becky quick today, greggsteinhafel apologized.

>> i'm very, very sorry that this whole event even happened.

>> reporter: just how much information was stolen is not over.

>> there was malware installed on our point of sale registers. we've established that much. we removed that malware so that we could have a safe and secure shopping environment.

>> reporter: why it took so long to knife customers.

>> we wanted to make sure that our stores and call centers could be as prepared as possible. throughout that four-day process we worked round the clock to try to do the right thing.

>> reporter: now he's working to push for new card technology.

>> there's a better way called emb technology.

>> reporter: is that the chip?

>> the chip technology .

>> reporter: it's already used in many european countries . proponents say it is more secure than the magnetic strip system in the u.s. but changing an entire payment system could be costly and isn't like likely to happen here until the end of 2015 , too late for those who fear this theft went way beyond target.

>> my understanding is that they started by testing very specific malware against multiple retailers. once they knew it was working, they then launched it at target.

>> reporter: today, both macy's and walmart say they have not been impacted, but for many customers, uncertainty has left them with one option.

>> yeah, cash right now. it's just cash, dahlgren, nbc news.