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FireEye's technology could have auto-nuked the Target malware but the functionality was disabled. The FireEye system was installed six months prior to the breach and it could be that Target's security team hadn't yet got to the point where they trusted it to act semi-autonomously.
Investigators are working on the theory that the initial breach of Target's systems was carried out after first hacking into the network of its supermarket refrigerating system supplier, Maryland firm Fazio Mechanical Services.