#CyberFLASH: The escalating arms race against cybercrime


Martin Knuth is one of Home Depot’s most loyal customers. But after the home improvement giant revealed last month that hackers had accessed the confidential credit card information of 56 million North American customers, the Regina retiree became concerned enough to help launch a class action lawsuit against the retailer.

So far, Mr. Knuth hasn’t found any fraudulent charges on his account – and he still shops at Home Depot. “It hasn’t changed my buying, per se,” said Mr. Knuth, who estimates he shops at his nearby Home Depot 10 times more than the average person. However, he acknowledged that the risk of his data being compromised “is still fairly high.”

Massive data breaches affecting tens of millions of people like Mr. Knuth are occurring with alarming frequency. In the past few months, a slew of hacks have taken place at companies such as Kmart, Staples, Dairy Queen and JPMorgan, where more than 80 million accounts were exposed. Three of the top 10 data breaches in history happened this year and experts say 2014 will be the worst on record, surpassing last year’s tally of 822 million exposed records worldwide, according to cybersecurity firm Risk Based Security. That’s almost double the number from 2011 and the actual figure could be far higher since experts say most breaches are kept quiet.

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