Incident 193: Excessive Automated Monitoring Alerts Ignored by Staff, Resulting in Private Data Theft of Seventy Million Target Customers

Description: Alerts about a Target data breach were ignored by Minneapolis Target’s staff reportedly due to them being included with many other potential false alerts, and due to some of the company’s network infiltration alerting systems being off to reduce such false alerts, causing private data theft for millions of customers.


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Alleged: FireEye developed an AI system deployed by Target, which harmed Target and Target customers.

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Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam

Incident Reports

Reports Timeline

False positives still cause threat alert fatigue · 2017

"It is commonly referred to as information overload. An infosec professional throws out a wide net in hopes of stopping malware before it gets too deep into the network, but like a motion-sensor light, sometimes the alert catches a squirrel…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.