An Eastern European criminal ring of hackers may have breached The Home Depot’s security, the latest in long line of breaches against major companies, including Target and UPS. Though The Home Depot is still investigating the possible breach, several major banks indicate that the Company is the likely source of a hefty data breach. Based on investigations to date, it appears most of The Home Depot’s 2,200 stores may be affected, eclipsing even Target’s significant security breach in late 2013.
According to law enforcement, the criminal ring installs malware that is difficult to detect in company systems. The malware allows criminal hackers to pull customer data, such as credit/debit card magnetic strip information, email addresses and snail-mail addresses. The information is then used by the criminals or sold on “carding” sites such as Rescator, with prices at least partially dependent on the cards’ credit limits. The prices, ranging from $2 to $50 per card, may seem insignificant; however, multiplied by the 100 million or so customers affected by multiple breaches to date, the crime is clearly lucrative.
The Home Depot has taken steps to counteract the breach: the Company is currently cooperating with law enforcement and banks to determine whether the breach actually occurred; it assures customers they will not be responsible for fraudulent purchases stemming from data theft; it assures customers that free identity theft protection, including credit monitoring, will be offered to any affected customer; it asks customers to carefully monitor their card statements and notify their banks of any peculiar activity; it provides a web page giving updates on the investigation here https://corporate.homedepot.com/MediaCenter/Pages/Statement1.aspx and it provides a Company contact phone number of 1-800-HOMEDEPOT (1-800-466-3337).
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO access The Home Depot’s web page for investigation updates here:https://corporate.homedepot.com/MediaCenter/Pages/Statement1.aspx
DO contact The Home Depot with any related questions @ 1-800-HOMEDEPOT (1-800-466-3337)
DO carefully monitor your credit/debit card statements for possible fraudulent transactions.
DO report any questionable activity to your bank/card issuer.
DO apply for free identity theft protection by The Home Depot if the breach is confirmed.
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