Home Depot will pay up to US$19.5 million for massive 2014 data breach

It also agreed to hire a chief information security officer

Home Depot has agreed to pay as much as US$19.5 million to remedy the giant data breach it suffered in 2014, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

Included in that figure is a reported $13 million to reimburse customers for their losses and $6.5 million to provide them with one and a half years of identity protection services.

Home Depot was not required to admit any wrongdoing.

"We’re working to put the litigation behind us," spokesman Stephen Holmes said via email. "This was the most expeditious path, but it’s not an admission of liability."

Customers "were not responsible for fraudulent charges, and they’ve been our primary focus throughout," he said.

The retailer also agreed to improve its data security, including hiring a chief information security officer.

First disclosed by the retailer in late 2014, the breach included the theft of data pertaining to about 56 million payment cards, as well as 53 million email addresses, making it one of the largest to date.

Those affected shopped at Home Depot stores between April and September of that year in the U.S. and Canada. The attackers gained access to Home Depot's network using the login credentials of one of its contractors, it said at the time.

It was hit with more than 50 lawsuits as a result of the breach. They were consolidated into two suits each seeking class action status.

Last year, Target agreed to pay $10 million in a settlement over a data breach it suffered in 2013 that affected at least 40 million cards.

In all, Home Depot has reportedly booked $161 million in pre-tax expenses for the breach.

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