Home Depot Confirms Massive Hack Involving Credit Card Data

If you’ve shopped at Home Depot over the last few months, you should likely check your credit card statements closely. Because the company has confirmed what was rumored for a week. A massive hack has taken place and the number of people affected could be staggering according to the New York Times:

The retailer said the exact number of customers affected was still not clear. But a person briefed on the investigation said the total number of credit card numbers stolen at Home Depot could top 60 million. By comparison, the breach last year at Target, the largest known attack to date, affected 40 million cardholders.

Well, that’s huge. Up until now, it wasn’t clear if this was a US only problem or if it affected stores in Canada, but it has become clear that it affects both countries:

The breach may have affected any customer at Home Depot stores in the United States and Canada from April to early last week, said Paula Drake, a company spokeswoman. Customers at Home Depot’s Mexico stores were not affected, nor were online shoppers at HomeDepot.com. Personal identification numbers for debit cards were not taken, she said.

The fact that personal identification numbers were not taken (as far as they know), is potentially good. That’s because in Canada, chip and PIN based credit and debit cards are almost universal in this country. That in theory makes them more secure than credit card and debit card users who rely on magnetic stripes based systems such as those in the USA. Thus, Canadians MAY not have to worry as much about this. Still they should check their credit card statements closely.

What this underscores is the fact that companies of all sizes really need to better secure data and protect themselves from threats. Plus there should be penalties, and pretty strict ones if a company fails to do so. I know I keep saying this every time something like this happens, but it’s clearly needed.

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