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Whole Foods Admits Data Breach

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Amazon owned supermarket admits that a number of its stores have suffered a credit card data breach

A number of stores belonging to the health-focused American supermarket chain Whole Foods have had their card payment processing systems hacked.

The firm admitted a breach of the data belonging to customers who drank and dined in its taprooms and full-service restaurants.

Whole Food is of course now owned by Amazon, after the online retailer earlier this year finally succeeded in its long quest to become a major player in the grocery industry, with the $13.7bn buyout of Whole Foods.

Whole Foods © Davod Shankbone

 

Card Hack

At this stage, it is not known how many people have been affected in this latest breach of consumer data.

“Whole Foods Market recently received information regarding unauthorised access of payment card information used at certain venues such as taprooms and full table-service restaurants located within some stores,” the firm said in a statement.

It said that these venues use a different point of sale system than the company’s primary store checkout systems, and that payment cards used at the primary store checkout systems were not affected.

“When Whole Foods Market learned of this, the company launched an investigation, obtained the help of a leading cyber security forensics firm, contacted law enforcement, and is taking appropriate measures to address the issue,” said Whole Foods.

It said its investigation into the data breach is ongoing and customers should “closely monitor their payment card statements and report any unauthorised charges to the issuing bank.”

It also pointed out that transactions on Amazon.com have not been impacted as its systems do not connect to the online giant.

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Data Breaches

The Whole Foods data breach is the latest in a long line of compromises of customer data of late.

The most notable data breach recently has been that of credit monitoring firm Equifax. It admitted in earlier this month that the breach had exposed the names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s licence numbers and affected about 143 million people.

It had also exposed the credit card numbers of around 209,000 US consumers and the personal details of about 400,000 UK consumers, whose information was mistakenly stored in the US.

This devastating breach has led to the departure of the firm’s chairman and chief executive, Richard, as well as a number of other senior executives.

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