On Monday, Home Depot confirmed that hackers broke into its payment systems in what might be the biggest breach of computer network of a retail company.
The retailer said that the number of customers affected was not clear yet. According to a person that was briefed on the investigation, the number of credit card numbers stolen might be more than 60 million. This is a high figure in comparison to the 40 million cardholders affected in the Target breach last year.
According to The New York Times, the breach could have affected just about any customer at the retailer’s stores in Canada and united States from April to last week, as reported by company spokeswoman, Paula Drake.
Home Depot’s stores in Mexico were not affected and online shoppers were not affected too. According to Paula, debit cards’ personal identification numbers were not taken.
As reported by ABC News, Brian Krebs, security reporter said, “Card information for sale on criminal sites that was stolen from Home Depot shoppers allows thieves to create counterfeit copies of debit and credit cards that can be used to purchase merchandise in big box stores.”
Home Depot reported that malware was to perform the hack and announced plans to get chip-enabled terminals for checkout in its US stores by the close of 2014. The attack is likely to damages the retailer’s sales.
John Kindervag, analyst at Forrester Research said, “I would think if you’re a member of the board of directors, somebody has to be the sacrificial lamb for this.”
Vice President of Core Security, Eric W. Cowperthwaite said, “honestly, Home Depot is in trouble here. This is not how you handle a significant security breach, nor will it provide any sort of confidence that Home Depot can solve the problem going forward.”
Home Depot runs 1,977 stores in the US and 180 in Canada, which is around 400 more than the stores Target had during its breach. While the breach in Target took three weeks before its discovery, that at Home Depot was unnoticed for five months.
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