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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Home Depot Investigating "Unusual Activity" - Possible Credit Card Data Breach

Have hackers invaded Home Depot?
The home improvement retailer told The Associated Press yesterday that law enforcement is investigating  "unusual activity."  
They further go on to say:   "Protecting our customers' information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers," said Paula Drake, a spokeswoman at Home Depot, declining to elaborate. She said the retailer would notify customers immediately if it confirms a breach.
If you recall, hackers have managed to break through a number of security walls recently, including Target, P.F. Chang's, Goodwill Thrift Store, and Supervalue.
These 'break-ins' have caused banks, retailers, and credit card companies to speed up plans to increase security measures.  One way of doing this is adopting microchips into debit and credit cards.  This has been in the works for a while, but in light of the easy of accessibility for hackers, companies are speeding up this method to secure personal information of consumers. 
Microchip cards are safer than the old-school magnetic strip, because when a card is swiped during checkout (point-of-sale terminal), the chip uses a one-time code that transfers to the retailer's register.  Further, data transferred by this method, is pretty much useless to others except those involved and the experts say that microchip cards are almost impossible to copy. 
Details are still a bit sketchy on exactly what this "unusual activity" consists of, but Brian Krebs, of Krebs on Security (a website focusing on security in cyberspace), was the first one to report this possible breach with Home Depot.
Krebs further broke the news that multiple banks reported  "evidence that Home Depot stores may be the source of a massive new batch of stolen credit and debit cards" that went on sale on the black market yesterday (Tuesday).  This could mean that all 2,200 Home Depot stores in the United States could be affected. 
According to Kres' post:  "If that is accurate — and if even a majority of Home Depot stores were compromised — this breach could be many times larger than Target, which had 40 million credit and debit cards stolen over a three-week period," said the Krebs post.
Ironically, Krebs reportedly is the one who broke the news about the Target breach last year and there is some speculation that the same group of Ukrainian and Russian hackers may also be the culprits with Home Depot. 

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