Data Breach At Home Depot: Where Is The Panic?


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The shifting attitude of American shoppers with regard to data breaches is a little surprising.

When Target announced back in December 2013 that hackers had made off with the card information of thousands of holiday shoppers, it was a situation that hit the retailer’s brand pretty hard.

The announcement came ahead of Christmas, the most important time of the year for businesses like Target.

While Target is still reeling from negative public perception over their data breach crisis, Home Depot’s almost casual announcement that a breach occurred suggests it isn't too worried about long-term ramifications.

Home Depot’s breach could impact as many as 40 million shoppers.

You would think there would be pandemonium.

However, Home Depot boasts a few advantages that Target lacks.

It’s important to note that this particular breach occurred during the retail equivalent of low tide. Things are already slow at Home Depot as spring, the company’s busiest time of year, is months behind it.

Therefore there are no immediate consequences to be felt by this security breach. Compare that to Target, whose scandal hit during peak season.

The customers who shop at Home Depot tend to be more loyal to the company’s unique brand than the people who shop at Target. That loyalty may be partially due to the fact that Home Depot sells specific products and that alternative companies are few.

Target struggled in recent years thanks in large part to the recession. As for Home Depot, the company has been boosted by a turnaround in the housing market, raising profits 13.5 percent.

Lastly, Target’s unfortunate situation served to shield Home Depot from the sensation of shock and panic. Because major breaches have already occurred, the public is more inclined to feel annoyed rather than afraid.

While this is understandable, should customers take the reality of data breaches for granted? The fact remains that inadequate security puts their financial information and money at risk.

However casually the latest data breach may be viewed, it doesn’t change the fact that something must be done.