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Target outage caused by error made during regular maintenance

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The great Target outage of 2019 continued on a smaller scale Sunday with a few shoppers reporting that some stores were unable to process credit card purchases.

Saturday’s approximately two-hour long outage affected all Target stores and was caused by an error made during regular system maintenance, Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck confirmed to USA TODAY.

Sunday’s issue was unrelated, caused by an issue at vendor NCR, Target said in a statement. It was not widespread like on Saturday.

“While this was not an issue within Target’s technology system, Target was unable to process select card payments at some stores for about 90 minutes,” Target’s statement said. “The issue is now resolved and payments are going through normally.”

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There were reports on social media of some stores not being able to process payments except with cash or check, but fewer complaints than Saturday’s outage, which had more than 5,000 reports on Downdetector.com.

“Although this was unrelated to Saturday’s issue, we know many guests had a frustrating shopping experience in our stores this weekend. For that, we are truly sorry,” Target said in the statement. “We never want to disappoint any guests and we’re working tirelessly to ensure these issues don’t happen again.”

Like with Saturday’s incident, Target said “this was not a security-related issue and no payment information was compromised at any time.” Saturday’s statement also confirmed the outage was “not a data breach.”

Regular maintenance

Eric Schmidt, chief information security officer at Butler University in Indianapolis, wasn’t surprised to learn that the outage was related to maintenance.

“Weekends are a normal maintenance time for most IT shops,” Schmidt said. “Retail is different especially with stores being open seven days a week.”

Sometimes, Schmidt said, even a simple upgrade doesn’t go as planned.

“It’s one of those things that happens, unfortunately,” he said.

Target’s last widespread register outage happened June 15, 2014, exactly five years to the day of Saturday’s issue. Reck said the 2014 outage was related to a network issue.

Target.com and other Target systems were unaffected during Saturday’s outage, Reck confirmed.

During the 2013 holiday shopping season, Target suffered a massive data breach, which affected more than 100 million customers.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/06/16/target-outage-caused-error-made-during-regular-maintenance/1471049001/



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