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Home Depot Says Hackers Grabbed 53 Million Email Addresses

Home Depot Confirming Data Breach

Home Depot said on Thursday that hackers managed to grab 53 million customer email addresses during the massive breach that was disclosed in September. The new details add to the pain from when the retail giant announced that 56 million customer payment cards were compromised between April and September 2014.

“Today, we are providing an update on the investigation into the breach of our payment data systems,” the company said in a statement. “Our investigation to date has determined the hackers stole separate files containing email addresses, in addition to the payment card data we announced in September that may have been compromised.”

The files containing the stolen email addresses did not contain passwords, payment card information or other sensitive personal information, the company said.

Additional details disclosed on Thursday, some of which have already been circulating, include:

• Criminals used a third-party vendor’s user name and password to enter the perimeter of Home Depot’s network. 

• The stolen credentials alone did not provide direct access to the company’s point-of-sale devices.

• The hackers acquired elevated rights that allowed them to navigate portions of Home Depot’s network and to deploy unique, custom-built malware on its self-checkout systems in the U.S. and Canada.

Home Depot previously said that it was first made aware of a potential breach of its payment processing systems on Sept. 2 after being notified by law enforcement. 

The home improvement giant previously stated it will roll out EMV 'Chip and PIN' to all U.S. stores by the end of this year in advance of the October 2015 deadline.

As CORE Security CEO Mark Hatton noted in a recent SecurityWeek column, Bloomberg has reported that Home Depot expects to pay roughly $62 million this year to recover from the incident, including everything from call-center staffing to legal expenses. Insurance will reportedly cover up $27 million of that tab.

Home Depot operates 2,265 retail stores in the US, Canada and Mexico and had annual sales of $78.8 billion in 2013. 

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.