There are reports the security breach confirmed by Home Depot could be the biggest in history, possibly affecting up to 60 million customers.
“The technology we’re using on credit cards is 50 years old, and it was never designed to really be secure,” says Martin Fisher, an Atlanta-based IT security manager.
He says that’s why U.S. companies need to move toward a so-called chip-and-pin model, which is much safer, and less likely to be hacked.
“The person will present the credit card, enter their pin number, and it’s all encrypted and it’s all cryptographically secure. That would make the point of sale system much less of a target,” says Fisher.
The chip-and-pin model is common in Europe. But can they be hacked?
“Yes they can, what we make them do to break it goes up, the chance of getting caught is higher and there’s less of it because it’s more labor intensive,” says Dr. Herb Mattord, the Associate Director of the Coles Center for Information Security at Kennesaw State University.
An audio version of this story.
Home Depot confirmed the hack and says it is working with the Secret Service to try to get to the bottom of this matter.
But some customers are still using plastic.
“I thought about it when I checked out but I used my American Express and American Express is typically, I feel, you know, more security aware than MasterCard and Visa, so that’s why I chose my American Express card,” says Home Depot customer Ashley Noto.
Justin Herges didn’t know about the security breach…..he was going to pay with a credit card, but he quickly changed his mind.
“I’m going to get the cash and come back and pay with cash.”
Home Depot says it plans to move to the safer chip-and-pin model before October 2015.
They also are offering free identity protection services for customers possibly affected by this breach.