New, Scary Malware Attack Blamed for Supermarket Fiasco

Dennis Faas's picture

There's a time and place for malware. Well, ideally there's never a time and place for it, but there certainly are places we'd expect it to strike over others. For one, few of us would link the average supermarket with the latest in technology, let alone its breach.

Surprisingly enough, malware is being blamed for a remarkable security hack of the Massachusetts-based Hannaford supermarket chain in early March. The Boston Globe recently cited a letter sent from the grocery chain to state regulators, announcing that the breach was the direct result of malicious software meant to intercept credit card data as it passed from customers' plastic to the cash register. That information was quickly funnelled into the database of overseas hackers.

A remarkable 4.2 million credit cards were compromised by the attack, which was instigated after malware was installed on servers at each of the 300-plus stores run by Hannaford and its subsidiaries. Although Hannaford continues to investigate the crack, so too does the Secret Service. Now, there's one gang we'd be surprised to see wandering through the cereal aisle. (Source:

The breach, although certainly frustrating for Hannaford and its shoppers, is highly original. It's believed to be one of the first where credit card information has been soaked up immediately as the data transfers from the customer's card to the retailer at the exact point-of-sale.

Insider Andrew Conry believes it will send a red flag to all retailers. "The whole mess should be very instructional to retailers everywhere," he said last week. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet