Home Depot confirms massive data breach

File Photo: Home Depot (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Home Depot confirmed Monday that its payment data systems were breached, which could impact customers who paid with credit and debit cards at stores in the U.S. and Canada since April.

According to company representatives, the breach impacted as many as 2,000 retail stores across the U.S. and 180 in Canada. The breach could turn out to be one of the biggest in history.

On Sept. 2, the company received word from its banking partners and law enforcement that its payment systems may have been breached, prompting the retail store to launch an investigation.

The company's internal IT security team is working with its banking partners and the Secret Service to further investigate the attack and provide information to customers.

Representatives said the full scope, scale and impact of the data hack is being determined and that the breach dates as far back as April. There is no evidence that debit card PIN numbers were compromised or that the attack impacted stores in Mexico and customers who shopped online.

CEO and Chairman Frank Blake released a statement apologizing to customers for the frustration the data hack may cause.

"We owe it to our customers to alert them that we now have enough evidence to confirm that a breach has indeed occurred. It's important to emphasize that no customers will be responsible for fraudulent charges to their accounts," he said.

The Home Depot is offering free identity protection services to customers who may have used a payment card at a store since April. Customers wishing to take advantage of the services can learn more at www.homedepot.com or call 1-800-HOME-DEPOT (800-466-3337).

Home Depot, which said malware was used in the hack, has announced that it plans to have chip-enabled checkout terminals at all of its U.S. stores by the end of this year.

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