53 million emails stolen in Home Depot hack

Home Depot says hackers made off with 53 million email addresses during a five-month data breach.

For months, hackers roamed around Home Depot’s networks undetected, resulting in the largest retail breach to date.

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The home improvement retailer had already said that the thieves stole the payment card data of 56 million people. Home Depot did not say how many people had both their payment cards and email addresses exposed.

Hackers accessed the “perimeter” of Home Depot’s network using a third-party vendor’s stolen username and login, the company said Thursday. The thieves then changed the stolen account’s privileges, allowing them to infiltrate the inner network. From there, they placed the malware on Home Depot’s online self-checkout systems to lift people’s information.

Data breaches have proliferated over the last year, sparking consumer worries and concern on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers have floated measures that would mandate set levels of data security and create a federal standard for data breach notification, but nothing has come close to passage.

Executives from Home Depot and Target, which was also hacked, have testified before Congress multiple times since the companies discovered their breaches.