Home Depot Hiring Security Chief Six Years After Major Security Incident

Home Depot has agreed to pay $17.5 million as part of a multistate lawsuit settlement following a cyber incident that occurred six years ago. As part of the settlement, the home improvement retailer is finally hiring its first chief information security officer (CISO).

A press release from the New York Attorney General’s office says the multistate agreement with Home Depot resolves an investigation into a 2014 data breach that compromised payment card information of approximately 40 million consumers in 46 US states plus the District of Columbia.

In 2014, hackers gained access to Home Depot’s network and deployed malware on the company’s self-checkout point-of-sale system. Once in, they obtained payment card information of customers who used self-checkout lanes at the retailer’s stores throughout the US between April 10  and September 13 of that year.

The agreement obliges Home Depot to pay the 46 affected states and the District of Columbia a total of $17.5 million. New York State, for its part, gets $597,459.80 out of the deal.

In addition to the financial settlements, Home Depot also agreed to take a series of steps to strengthen its cybersecurity posture. According to the press release, those measures include: 

  • Employing a duly qualified chief information security officer — reporting to both senior or C-level executives and the board of directors regarding The Home Depot’s security posture and security risks;
  • Providing resources necessary to fully implement the company’s information security program;
  • Providing appropriate security awareness and privacy training to all personnel who have access to the company’s network or responsibility for U.S. consumers’ personal information;
  • Employing specific security safeguards with respect to logging and monitoring, access controls, password management, two-factor authentication, file integrity monitoring, firewalls, encryption, risk assessments, penetration testing, intrusion detection, and vendor account management; and
  • Undergoing a post settlement information security assessment — consistent with previous state data breach settlements — that, in part, will evaluate its implementation of the agreed upon information security program.

While these provisions are certainly welcome news, it’s unclear why the retail behemoth waited six full years to open a CISO position following such a serious cyber incident.

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