D.R. Horton Says Applicants’ Information Was Compromised

D.R. Horton Inc., the largest U.S. homebuilder by volume, said it’s notifying mortgage applicants that their personal data may have been compromised by a software security infringement.

The breach was caused by “unknown external sources,” the Fort Worth, Texas-based company said in a statement yesterday. It was discovered on Feb. 10 at the builder’s Internet Loan Prequalification System, according to a message being sent to customers, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

“DHI Mortgage has already contacted law enforcement and implemented revised online security measures as we continue to investigate the matter,” D.R. Horton said in the message. “As a precautionary measure, we are sending you this notice so that you can take steps to prevent or limit identity theft.”

Jessica Hansen, the company’s director of investor relations, didn’t respond to a telephone message and e-mail seeking comment yesterday.

The homebuilder didn’t say in its statement how many people were affected by the security breach. Information that applicants submitted to D.R. Horton may include birth dates, Social Security numbers and such financial data as income, assets and liabilities, the company said in its message to customers.

Data breaches last year at companies including AT&T Inc., Sony Corp. and Citigroup Inc. sharpened government scrutiny of how businesses safeguard consumer information and respond to cyber-attacks. U.S. companies must spend more than eight times their current allocation for cyber-security to be capable of stopping 95 percent of attacks by hackers, according to a Bloomberg Government study published Jan. 30.

In-House Financing

D.R. Horton sold 17,176 homes in 25 states last year at prices ranging from $90,000 to more than $600,000. Its in-house mortgage company handled the financing for 60 percent of homebuyers in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The company’s net income was $119.9 million on revenue of $3.76 billion for the four quarters through Dec. 31. Financial services accounted for $87.2 million of revenue in fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30.

D.R. Horton announced the security breach after the close of regular U.S. trading yesterday. Its shares fell 0.4 percent to $14.47 yesterday in New York. They have gained 16 percent in the past 12 months.

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