As you already may know, on September 8th, 2014, Home Depot confirmed that their data systems were breached which impacts customers who used a credit or debit card at one of their U.S. or Canadian retail stores.
Home Depot also confirmed that the malware used to steal credit and debit cardholder data was eliminated on September 18th. There is also no evidence that debit PIN numbers were compromised or that users who shopped at HomeDepot.ca were impacted.
If you shopped at Home Depot since the month of April 2014 your best bet would be to renew your credit card or debit card that you used.
At a minimum you should monitor your account for strange activity and consider calling Home Depot. Home Depot is offering customers 12 months of free credit monitoring and identity protection services.
For protecting your credit card information in the future, consider these tips:
Quick tip 1: Use mobile payments
Craig Young, a security researcher from Tripwire states “technology that avoids you having your credit card in your hand in a store is safer”.
For example, when you add a credit card to Apple Pay, card numbers are not stored on the device, a unique number is associated with that credit card and is securely stored through encryption on your device. When transactions are made, the device account number instead of your credit card’s data is passed on to validate each transaction.
The drawback is not many retailers have caught on with this technology and only people with an iPhone 6 can use it.
Quick Tip 2: Monitor your credit card account activity
Most banks allow you to login to your account and view transactions made a few days post purchase. If you monitor your account activity every week or so, not only is it easy to see where most of your money is being spent, you’ll be able to identify strange transactions should it ever happen to you.
Most of the time, Thieves will use your card to charge for smaller amounts to test if the card works and is monitored or not. They also may be stealing small amounts from millions of cards looking for a bigger payout.
Credit cards are without a doubt the easiest way to pay. Merchants owe a responsibility to their customers to protect their data. As technology continues to evolve, expect your cardholder data to be more secure in the future, as it will continue to be a bigger priority for both banks and businesses alike.
Looking for more info on the breach? Check out this great infographic: