Security analysts have speculated that the theft of data which occurred may in fact be worse than the incident which occurred at Target just last year. The largest home improvement chain in the United States has made statements assuring customers that it currently has no evidence to support that their online client information or debit PIN numbers have been compromised.
No specific details have been given as to how many have been affected by this hack. The breach was first noticed about a week ago, by KrebsOnSecurity. They also noted the problem could extend as far back as April, and could impact over 2,000 of Home Depot’s US retail locations.
It is worth noting that last year, when Target was breached, hackers stole an estimated 70 million pieces of customer data and at least 40 million credit card numbers. KrebsOnSecurity reported the hackers attacked Home Depot’s systems using a different version of the same malware which was used to hack into Target last year. This debacle has cost Target upwards of $146 million since the third quarter of 2013. Anyone who has used their credit or debit card at Home Depot should follow the same protective steps as those who lost information to the Target hackers.
Frank Blake, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Home Depot, is quoted in a statement as saying, “We owe it to our customers to alert them that we now have enough evidence to confirm that a breach has indeed occurred. It is important to emphasize that no customers will be responsible for fraudulent charges to their accounts.”
Home Depot has stated that their internal information technology security team is closely working with its banking partners and the United States Secret Service in hopes of gathering all the information they can in this investigation.
Home Depot has made some hefty promises in hopes of making up for this serious blunder. They’ve promised free identity-protection services, such as credit monitoring, to all its impacted customers, much like Target did. Home Depot has also said they have plans to roll out a new system that allows the use of chip-and-PIN cards in all of its retail locations in the United States by the end of 2014.
(Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart)