330 SPAR stores close or switch to cash-only payments after a cyberattack

A cyber attack hit the international supermarket franchise SPAR forcing 330 shops in North East England to shut down.

A cyberattack hit the international supermarket franchise SPAR impacting the operations at 330 shops in North East England. Many stores were forced to close or switch to cash-only payments after the attack.

SPAR operates 13,320 stores in 48 countries as of 2019, but the cyberattack hit only stores in Lancashire county. The attack took place over the weekend and today some stores remained closed.

Lawrence Hunt & Co Ltd, which operates 25 branches across the county, confirmed that the outage affected tills, credit cards and back-office systems across the SPAR network.

Unfortunately due to a total IT outage affecting all our stores we have had to remain closed all day Sunday with no time set to be back on line – our apologies for the massive inconvenience to all our customers and store teams— SPAR Lawrence Hunt (@lawrencehunts) December 5, 2021According to the Lancashire Post website, the website for Preston food distributor James Hall and Co, which provides stock to hundreds of SPAR shops across North England, was offline today.

“We are currently aware of an online attack on our IT systems. This has affected around 330 SPAR stores across the North of England over the past 24 hours and we are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.” said a spokesman for James Hall & Co.

“It is currently impacting stores’ ability to process card payments meaning that a number of SPAR stores are currently closed to shoppers or only taking cash payments.“

“We apologise for the inconvenience this is causing our customers and we are working as quickly as possible to resolve the situation.”

The company did not provide details about the attack, but public information about the incident suggests it is a ransomware attack.

The UK’s national cybersecurity center (NCSC) informed consumers that it is aware of the incident affecting SPAR.

“We are aware of an issue affecting Spar stores and are working with partners to fully understand the incident.“ a NCSC spokesperson said. “The NCSC has published guidance for organisations on how to effectively detect, respond to and resolve cyber incidents.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, IKEA)

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