This is something even the United States’ Secret Service is looking into, so it must be really big. But, like I said in the subtitle, it’s only half bad, as the information
lost only included the supermarket responsible’s customers credit and debit card numbers, and not the corresponding names and addresses. Nevertheless, that will not stop a persistent hacker from working his magic and getting away with it.
There have been about 1,800 cases of fraud linked to this security breach, hence the Secret Service investigation. It’s a lot of work and records of bank accounts to go through, with the period of vulnerability having been discovered to have started on the 7th of December and until the patch that dealt with it only came earlier this month.
Affecting all of the 165 Hannaford stores, 106 Swetbay stores in Florida and some independently owned retailers in New England, it is one of the biggest similar happenings in the history of security, right after the 45.7 million accounts compromised over two years at retailer TJX. All the stores mentioned above are linked by the one payment system, that Hannaford has been running for quite a while now.
"The stolen data was limited to credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates, and was illegally accessed from our computer systems during transmission of card authorization," Hannaford chief exec Ron Hodge said in an open letter to customers posted on the grocer's website.
Details on how the breach actually happened are still unclear, but the ongoing investigation will reveal more information with time, or at least that’s what Hannaford hopes. In the meanwhile, the supermarket chain offered to help field customer concerns and asked them to keep a close watch on their credit card bills for any sign of theft.