CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A data breach at Home Depot could have exposed information on millions of shoppers' credit and debit cards across the U.S. and Canada. It's a reoccurring trend that we're seeing happen to more and more companies.
There was Target last year, Stubhub, P.F. Chang's and now Home Depot. Major companies, who have all had their security systems breached. It begs the question: how do hackers... hack?
UNC Charlotte's College of Computing and Informatics is preparing its students to be the good guys, by learning how to be the bad guys. They're teaching their students how to hack, so they can understand how to stop hackers once they graduate.
"Attackers only have to find one hole and from a company's perspective, they have to make sure everything is secure," said Professor Bill Chu. "It's just like your house."
Chu says the most profitable places to hack are big companies with a lot of information, which is why the news about Home Depot doesn't surprise him.
"The chain of possible breaches is so long, their surface is so big, that if there is a pin hole somewhere, somebody can get through," Chu said.
There are typically two ways to breach: sending out an email, sort of a "scam" about winning money, for example, hoping that someone will click on it. The other way is more strategic.
"They look for things that they haven't updated, if they haven't done things that should be done, if they have a vulnerable version out there somewhere," Chu said.
With each hacked business, people's credit card and debit card information is at risk. It has some shoppers pushing away the plastic.
"Usually I'm with cash man, I'm old school," said shopper Nicholas Gagatch. "I've never seen a major problem with it."
Chu says for Home Depot, hindsight is probably 20/20 for the security people there. As they look back, they'll discover things and think "I should have seen this."
UNCC will host the 15th annual Cyber Security Symposium on October 15, which they say is the premier security conference in the region. They'll address cybercrimes and what's being done to combat them.