How a news outlet reports about the stolen Target PIN data tells me a lot about how "fair and balanced" they are.
PIN data was stolen, not the decoded PINs. This is the difference between bank robbers stealing an all-but impenetrable safe that was inside the vault and stealing dollar bills from the vault. Assuming the encryption is done correctly, it is almost impossible that a even single PIN can be decoded in our lifetimes. The encryption code responsible for these PINs is probably some of the most audited in the world and primary purpose is to defend against exactly this kind of attack. So, how do news outlets report this?
CNN gives a vague headline "Target Confirms PIN data was stolen in breach" and they let you take the implicit step "thieves know my PIN is 12345". This outlet is sensationalizing. In the body of the story they continue "However, the retailer believes the PINs remain 'safe and secure'." Note that their choice of word is "believes", well of course Target believes the data is secure, the best analysis of all available data points to an exceedingly high probability that the PINs are still encoded. Target "believes" their statement as much as I believe I'm currently on Earth, it may be a belief, but it's one based on fact.
Reuters is better, "Target says PINs stolen, but confident data secure". "confident" is a direct quote from Target, although somehow the phrasing still suggests to me Reuters wants you to question Target's assessment.
Businessweek, in my opinion, says it best, "Target Says Encrypted PIN Information Stolen in Card Breach." Businessweek is giving an objective assessment of the situation and also an assessment that is complete at the level of detail of a headline.
My opinion is that CNN should be ashamed, Reuters should feel a little guilty, and Businessweek should be applauded.http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/27/technology/target-pin/http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/27/target-databreach-idUSL2N0K60RS20131227http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-12-27/target-says-debit-card-pins-are-safe-after-data-security-breach