Home Depot’s Credit Card Breach – Is Your Credit Safe?
In September, Home Depot confirmed that it had been the target of a major cyber attack, which affected 56 million credit cards over the course of five months. The company says that the exploit was a complex, customized piece of malware specifically designed to attack its systems. Both JP Morgan Chase and Capital One Financial Corp have issued replacement cards to customers who may have been affected by the credit information breach.
Cards may have been exposed as early as April; the attack lasted until September, when a block of credit card data from the exploit was offered for sale on a black market website. Experts say that Home Depot had failed to enable a key safety feature that might have alerted them to the attack sooner. This and other serious breaches like the one that affected Target last year can have painful and inconvenient effects for those whose data was compromised. Consumer Reports estimates that 22.5% of those whose data is acquired in a credit card hack are later the victims of identity fraud. A cyber security expert at Trend Micro puts the estimate even higher, saying that about 70 percent of stolen cards will be used for at least one credit card transaction. When fraudulent charges are identified, the credit card company removes them. But, it can take time and stress to identify fraudulent charges and have them handled. In addition to the increased security that retailers have pledged, there are also things that you can do to protect your private information and protect your finances.