Home Depot investigates potential hacking of credit card data
Home Depot may be the latest victim of retail hackings of customer debit and credit card information.
The suspected breach, first reported on Tuesday by journalist and security researcher Brian Krebs, may involve all 2,200 US stores and has some of the hallmarks of the group that compromised Target, Sally Beauty, and P.F. Chang’s, according to Krebs. Home Depot is currently looking into the fraud anomalies and promised to notify customers as soon as it has evidence of a breach.
“At this point, I can confirm that we’re looking into some unusual activity and we are working with our banking partners and law enforcement to investigate,” Home Depot spokesman Paula Drake said in a statement to Ars. “Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers.”
In the past year, thieves have compromised hundreds of retailers and stolen gigabytes of financial information. In the most notable case, a group of Russian and Eastern European thieves infiltrated retail giant Target for three weeks during the 2013 holiday shopping season, stealing data on 40 million payment cards and 70 million customers. Since then, the industry has seen attacks on retailer Neiman Marcus, restaurant P.F. Chang’s, and healthcare provider Community Health Systems.
The US Secret Service and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned in July and August that more than 1,000 retail companies had been breached by a malicious program known as Backoff. The software compromised retailers’ computer systems through the remote-desktop software used to maintain and administer the systems.
In the latest suspected case of Home Depot, the attackers may have been motivated by the situation in Russia and Ukraine. Credit card files found for sale online by Krebs were labeled “American Sanctions” and “EU Sanctions”—apparently referring to the economic embargoes against Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.
If true, the attack would not be the first linked to that conflict. The recent breach of JPMorgan may also have roots in the conflict, according to investigators.