Business

Home Depot says hackers also took 53 million email addresses

Hackers stole 53 million email addresses — 64,000 of them Canadian — in addition to customers' card data, Home Depot said Thursday. The nation's largest home improvement chain had disclosed the massive, monthslong breach of 56 million debit and credit cards in September.

Company notifying affected customers in Canada and the U.S.

The Home Depot says hackers stole 53 million email addresses. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)

Hackers stole 53 million email addresses — 64,000 of them Canadian — in addition to customers' card data, Home Depot said Thursday. The nation's largest home improvement chain had disclosed the massive, monthslong breach of 56 million debit and credit cards in September.

Home Depot is one of several retailers that have reported large hacks over the past year. Target's pre-Christmas 2013 breach compromised 40 million credit and debit cards and hurt sales and profits. Michaels, SuperValu and Neiman Marcus have also reported breaches.

While shoppers appear to have grown numb to the hacks, the breaches have been forcing changes in retailing. Target's breach pushed banks, retailers and card companies to increase security by speeding the adoption of microchips in U.S. credit and debit cards, which supporters say are more secure. Home Depot reiterated Thursday that it will be activating chip-enabled checkout terminals at all of its U.S. stores by the end of the year.

Affected customers being notified

The file containing the email addresses did not contain passwords or other sensitive personal information, according to Home Depot. However, it said that customers should be on guard against phishing scams. Phishing attacks are sent through texts or emails and try to trap you into disclosing personal information.

The company is notifying affected customers in the U.S. and Canada.

Home Depot also explained how the hackers got into its system. It said that the hackers initially accessed its network with a vendor's username and password. Home Depot said hackers stole information through malware installed on self-checkout systems in the U.S. and Canada.

The breach, which lasted from April to September, affects the company's finances. Home Depot's outlook for its fiscal 2014 year includes estimates for the cost to investigate the data breach, providing credit monitoring services to its customers, increasing call center staffing and pay for legal and professional services.

The profit outlook doesn't include any potential losses related to the breach, however.

Home Depot is expected to announce third-quarter results on Nov. 18. On Thursday it confirmed its sales growth estimate for the year and said it still expects annual profit of $4.54 per share.

The company's stock rose 5 cents to $97.34 in extended trading Thursday. Shares have gained 18 percent in 2014.

with a file from The Canadian Press

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