Home Depot customer data hack ‘many times larger’ than Target breach

Home Depot has become the latest major US chain to be hit by hackers after an investigation began to find out whether customer data that includes confidential credit card information has been stolen.

Related: Why Target’s customers thought its post-hack email was a scam

The company reported that it is looking into “unusual activity” with the help of banks and law enforcement authorities to try to work out what hackers pilfered and some observers are already drawing comparisons with the infamous Target data breach earlier this year.

“Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers,” Paula Drake, a spokeswoman at Home Depot, told the Associated Press.

Brian Krebs first reported the possibility of a breach on his Krebs on Security blog when he stated that a number of banks had already seen “evidence that Home Depot stores may be the source of a massive new batch of stolen credit and debit cards.”

Krebs thinks that the breach took place back in April or May and that it could be “many times larger” than the Target breach that he was also the first to uncover and resulted in 40 million credit and debit cards being compromised and has cost the firm $148 million [£90 million] so far.

Drake added that the company plans to inform customers as soon as it knows that a data breach has occurred and failed to elaborate any further, citing security reasons that prevented her revealing any more.

Related: 93% of organisations suffered a data breach in 2013

Hackers are thought to have installed code on to card-swipe machines in every Target stores to steal details from customers and it’s currently unclear if they did the same in this case.

Image Credit: Flickr (Mike Mozart)