More and more consumers these days are buying things with their credit and debit cards, instead of cash, especially large purchases. As a result, many retailers have security systems in place to protect themselves and their customers in the event of a cyber attack. For example, it’s now widely considered common practice to encrypt customers’ credit and debit card numbers.
According to a recent data breach class action lawsuit filed against Home Depot, the retailer allegedly failed to encrypt its customers’ credit card data or take other standard security measures.
Five former computer security employees of Home Depot have come forward to accuse the company of negligence. They allege Home Depot failed to follow basic industry standards, including scanning its customer systems on a regular basis. The retail giant also allegedly used outdated software and used only “C-level security,” claiming upgrades would be too expensive and disruptive to business.
Symantec, a cybersecurity company, did a “health check” on Home Depot’s systems shortly before the data breach was announced and found the malware detection systems were outdated.
Not only did Home Depot allegedly not respond to Symantec’s findings, but it allegedly failed to alert its customers to potential cyber attacks that could leave customers’ financial information exposed.
It was the media that first announced that Home Depot may have been affected by a data breach. Home Depot waited a week before verifying the report. The retail giant then confirmed that the credit and debit card information of a whopping 56 million customers had been left vulnerable to theft over a five-month time period, making it the largest recorded retail card breach to date.
The media again alerted customers when The New York Times reported that hackers had installed malware to take payment information off the memory of Home Depot registers and sent that data to servers outside the U.S.
After news of the data breach hit the public, multiple financial institutions have reported the possibility that credit card data was still compromised even five days after the news of the data breach was first reported.
The Wall Street Journal reported that information stolen as a result of Home Depot’s data breach has already been used to buy things like groceries and electronics, both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. Reporters for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also found an underground website that sells credit card numbers. These sites list the city, state, and ZIP code of the store each card was stolen from and many of the cards compromised during the Home Depot data breach were listed on the black market website.
Now federal data breach class action lawsuits have been filed against Home Depot for allegedly failing to take reasonable security measures with its customers’ personal information. It also alleges the retail giant failed to notify its customers of the data breach in a timely manner. The class action lawsuits have been consolidated in Atlanta and includes anyone whose information was compromised as a result of the data breach.
Our Schaumburg, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action data breach, privacy rights, deceptive advertising, predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totalling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.
Our Lombard and Oakbrook Terrace consumer attorneys provide assistance in data breach, privacy violation, fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can click here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases our Chicago consumer lawyers have handled. A video of our lawsuit which helped ensure more fan friendly security at Wrigley Field can be found here. You can contact one of our Warrenville and Lisle consumer protection and data breach attorneys who can assist in consumer fraud, consumer rip-off, lemon law, unfair debt collection, predatory lending, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog or by clicking here. You can also call our toll free number at 630-333-0333.