Chris McCormack/cm160019

Australian credit cards hit in massive Target hacking

A CYBER criminal ring targeting small retailers in 11 countries, including Australia, stole data on 49,000 payment cards using a malicious software known as "ChewBacca" before the operation was shut down, according to a cyber research firm.

RSA FirstWatch disclosed the attacks late last week. It said the firm's researchers uncovered the ring, whose victims included small companies in Australia, the United States, Russia and Canada.

They managed to steal details from some 24 million payment card transactions over about two months, according to RSA.

Comment is being sought from the Australian Federal Police and RSA as to how many Australian companies were affected.