The recent Home Depot breach has proven to be larger than retailer Target's breach late last year, with as many as 56 million credit card at risk. Former employees accuse the company of leaving data vulnerable, a charge that executives have denied, but there were alarm bells reportedly dating back to 2008. An estimate of the stolen data, which is becoming available online, could lead to $3 billion in illegal purchases over time.
This is a huge bungle by Home Depot," noted Jeff Macke, Yahoo Finance analyst. "It's more than an inconvenience... it's a huge, ridiculous hassle. We need an upgrade of the whole cycle."
Indeed, security experts are calling on banks to embed credit cards with microchips rather than rely on magnetic strips. Home Depot uses EMV chip-based technology for Visa and MasterCard in Europe and Canada, and plans to introduce it into the United States later in 2014.