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Target, The Gap and others form group to share cyberthreat data

A range of retailers will share cyberthreat data through a new center to prevent attacks

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Some of the biggest U.S. retailers have banded together to share information about cyberthreats, in a bid to avert breaches like that suffered by Target last holiday season.

Target, The Gap, Walgreens and J.C. Penney are among the members of the group, which will share real-time threat information with each other and with the Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service, FBI and other "public and private stakeholders," they said Wednesday.

They'll share information about new strains of malware, activity on underground forums and potential software vulnerabilities, which they said will be translated into "actionable intelligence." They'll also share anonymized information with the U.S. government.

The goal of the organization, called the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center, or R-CISC, is to help the retailers get out in front of emerging threats. It follows a data breach at Target late last year in which millions of payment card details and other personal records were lost, in one of the largest data breaches in history.

Education and training are part of the program, but the success of the effort hinges on the amount of information retailers can gather and their willingness to share it.

"We are confident that by sharing with our peers and industry stakeholders through the R-CISC, our industry will collectively strengthen its ability to protect critical customer information," Warren Steytler, vice president of information security at Lowe's, said in the announcement.

Other participants are American Eagle Outfitters, Nike, Safeway and VF Corp., which operates Vans and Nautica, among others.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com



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