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Home Depot confirms months-long hack — may be bigger than Target’s last year

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Home Depot on Monday confirmed that hackers had indeed broke into its payment systems — maybe as far back as April.

Home Depot’s hack might be even bigger than Target’s was last year. In Target’s case, hackers slipped in for three weeks and grabbed 40 million debit and credit cards. Hackers remained in Home Depot’s computers — unnoticed — for about five months.

Hackers stole debit and credit card data from shoppers in the United States and Canada. The question now is how many millions of shoppers are affected.

Home Depot said it’s still investigating the breach, but said there’s still “no evidence” debit card PINs were exposed.

In a statement, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake said: “We apologize for the frustration and anxiety this causes our customers, and I want to thank them for their patience and support as we work through this issue.”

Related story: Welcome to the Age of Hacks

The company says it first became aware of the breach on Sept. 2, after receiving calls from banks and law enforcement. Home Depot said it’s working with the U.S. Secret Service to determine the scope of the hack.

So far, though, the company thinks only customers who shopped at brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and Canada were affected. Online customers — and those who shopped in its Mexico stores — were spared.

The home improvement chain is taking measures that are now typical of retailers victimized by cyber thieves. It’s offering free identity protection and credit monitoring to anyone who shopped there since April, and the store is replacing its card-swiping terminals with machines that accept the more secure chip-enabled EMV cards.

Home Depot now joins the growing list of companies that have lost your data in the past year: Albertson’s, Target, Michaels, Neiman Marcus, P.F. Chang’s and SuperValu.

It’s gotten so bad, CNNMoney developed its own tool that tells you if your information has been compromised: What hackers know about you.

 

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