Although Home Depot assembled a task force to increase security and beef up its technology soon after the Target breach, months of testing to better protect all stores' payment systems may have given hackers a window to breach the retailer, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The nation's fourth largest retailer confirmed in a statement on Sept. 8 that its payment systems at stores in the U.S.and Canada had been breached.
In April, Home Depot signed a $7 million contract with a data security provider to encrypt payment card data at all of its 2,200 stores in the U.S. and Canada. By then, the newspaper reported, hackers may have already broken into Home Depot's payment systems.
"And by early September, when the company says it became aware it was hacked, the encryption system had only been rolled out to a quarter of its stores," the article stated.
If you have shopped at a Home Depot store dating back to April, it's a good idea to monitor your credit and debit card accounts and notify your bank of any unusual activity.