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Supermarket Hack Puts 4.2 Million Customer Accounts at Risk

A supermarket chain in Maine reported on March 17, 2008 that a security breach into its system network put at risk debit and credit card accounts of about 4.2 Million customers, as reported by Cnet on March 17, 2008.

According to the company, the theft of data happened from the computer systems of Hannaford when the process of card authorization was being transmitted. According to reports, Hannaford was informed about the unnatural transactions being done on cards at the stores on February 27, 2008. This led to law enforcement and IT investigations to take necessary measures.

Meanwhile, Hannaford is reportedly co-operating with debit and credit card issuers to make sure that the affected customers remain protected. The retailer is also working with the law enforcing authorities to help single out the fraudsters.

In a statement of apology to the stores' customers, Ronald Hodge, Chief Executive of Hannaford Bros, said that no customer's personal information including names and contact addresses was captured, as reported by Cnet on March 17, 2008.

During the ongoing investigations, the supermarket chain of Hannaford Bros., which runs 165 Hannaford shops in the Northeast and 106 Sweetbay shops in Florida, said that the company has detected around 1,800 cases of the online theft and associated fraud.

Steve Smith, Senior Vice President for merchandising in Tampa for Sweetbay, the Bay region's major supermarket chain said that he was not aware of what number of the incidences of fraud were affecting Florida residents although 1.6 Million of the accessed numbers also belonged to the customers of Sweetbay stores, as reported by TBO on March 18, 2008.

Officials at Sweetbay and Hannaford companies say that nobody knows who were behind the breach. In the meantime, the US Secret Service who investigates e-crime like data breaches ratified that it was investigating into the current hack, as reported by TBO on March 18, 2008.

Smith said that while it was clear that the attack was sophisticated, his company did not have the perpetrators' details. He added that the attack was an external hack rather than internal.

However, the theft of 4.2 Million accounts represents a significant number but less than the compromise of 45.7 Million accounts at the TJX retail companies.

Related article: Springs Man Gets Jail Following Hacking Attempt on TSA System

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