Multiple Location Supermarket Suffers Supply Chain Attack

A cyber attack has simultaneously hit more than 300 Spar convenience stores across the north of England in an apparent supply chain attack, forcing many of them to revert to cash-only payments while others chose to close their doors to customers. The attack hit the company’s computer systems, causing a “total IT outage” that has prevented staff from taking card payments and locked them out of emails.

The attack targeted James Hall & Company in Preston, Lancashire, which operates Spar's tills and IT systems and the affected stores have been able to handle card payments. The company supplies products to around 600 Spar stores. 

The UK  National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Lancashire Police are investigating. A spokesman for Sparb said: "We are aware of an issue affecting Spar stores and are working with partners to fully understand the incident... We are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

This isn't the first time a supermarket chain has been brought to its knees by a cyber attack. In July hackers caused 500 Co-op stores in Sweden to close as tills and self-service machines were taken down as one of the international effects of the massive Kaseya supply chain attack. In that case, it was the Co-op supermarket's IT supplier that was hit with ransomware.

The question for James Hall is now the one all cyber attack victims dread - whether or not to to pay the  criminals to get the  shops back online?

For the hundreds of thousands of Spar customers affected by the hack the urgent question is when will their local stores open again?  It has more than 2,500 stores in the UK that employ about 40,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £3bn. At the time of writing both the Spar and the James Hall &Co websites were inaccessible.

NCSC:     LEP:      ITPro:      ZDNet:    BBC:    Guardian:    Telegraph:     Times:    Cumbria Crack

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