Credit card data stolen from supermarket chain

A computer hacker or computer hackers stole thousands of credit card numbers after managing to breach security at two U.S. grocery store chains owned by Belgium-based Delhaize Group SA, the companies admitted.

Nearly 2,000 cases of fraud have been linked to the breach, but no personal information such as names or addresses was accessed when the hacker broke into the Hannaford Bros. stores in Massachusetts, New England and New York, and Sweetbay customers in Florida, Hannaford claimed in a statement. The question is, how do they know that no other information was accessed.

According to Boston's WBZ radio 4.2 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen. Company officials were not immediately available to confirm the number of stolen card numbers. In other words, officials of the company were not prepared to admit that the is so large. They are working on so-called “damage control”, I am sure.

Hannaford, headquartered in Scarborough, Maine, said that it had become aware of unusual credit card activity on February 27 and began an investigation. It said the data was illegally accessed during the credit card authorization process. And how is this possible? If it is that easy to access such information then, maybe, we better all went back to cash payments and, maybe, checks. This definitely does not make for inspiring confidence in the systems that are in place to safeguard information that companies (and governments) hold on us. Time to put the breaks on this, methinks.

Hannaford Chief Executive Ron Hodge offered an apology for the intrusion. There are 165 Hannaford stores in the U.S. Northeast and 106 Sweetbay supermarkets in Florida.
"We sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience this has caused," Hodge said in a statement. "We have taken aggressive steps to augment our network security capabilities."

The breach is the latest at a big U.S. retailer and comes after U.S. retail group TJX Cos Inc disclosed last year that data from 45.7 million credit and debit cards were stolen by hackers over a period of 18 months, as well as personal information for 451,000 people.

A group of banks later asserted in court documents that the number of consumer accounts were affected was closer to 94 million, a charge Massachusetts-based TJX denied.

But, how can this be? The data we give out is supposed to be so secure. Yes, I am being sarcastic; a trait I am well known for. Our data is simply NOT secure on an such systems that can be accessed from the “outside” so to speak, whether business or government. This is yet another reason for for us all not to trust the governments with our personal data for any kind of national ID card scheme, whether in the UK or in the USA. With all the information in digital for cloning it is all so much easier and NOT harder, as they try to tell us all the time.

Michael Smith (Veshengro), March 2008