Home Depot: 53M email addresses stolen by hackers

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Home Depot Confirms Nationwide Data Breach

NEW YORK (AP) - Home Depot said Thursday that hackers stole 53 million email addresses in addition to data from millions of payment cards.

The nation's largest home improvement chain said Thursday that hackers stole 53 million customer email addresses from April to September. It had disclosed in September that 56 million debit and credit cards were compromised.

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 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.

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 from a third-party vendor 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 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.

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