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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

What Do Home Depot & Target Have In Common?

Apparently they’re both susceptible to security flaws in their cash register systems.

As details emerge about the data breach at The Home Depot, one has to wonder if we’ve seen this story before. With the exception of a few isolated stores it appears that almost every retail location in the country was affected, and a variant of the same “BlackPOS” malware that was used to steal the Target customer information was utilized in this incident. One can imagine the frustration of IT security professionals as yet another major American retailer falls susceptible to these attacks, months after all the publicity and outcry surrounding the previous breach.

With The Home Depot admitting to the existence of the hack, they have started offering credit card monitoring services that typically stem from such incidents. Early reports indicate that the information lost may date back into April or May, but still leaves the question of why their systems were not fortified after the national attention last December. Part of the issue may be the slow adoption of newer Windows versions by many enterprise customers (read: large businesses), having built their systems around the defunct Widows XP operating system with its known security flaws. Time will tell whether this breach will end up being even larger than the infamous Target incident, but the continued lack of security is troubling to many consumers.

In this day and age the best defense against these sort of things is not to avoid retailers and businesses with breaches entirely, but to always remain vigilant about your personal finances. If you notice suspicious activity (it can be something as simple as a fake coffee purchase to test your card limits) then notify your bank and/or credit reporting agencies of potentially compromised information before major damage can be done. It is is said that the best defense is a good offense, and by being aggressive about watching for issues you can prevent yourself from being a victim in the future.

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