Cyber-attack hits 300 Spar UK stores in north of England

Consumer spending has grown year-on-year yet again, according to Visa Europe
Shops have not been able to take card payments since the attack occured

Attack has affected stores' ability to process card payments, which has forced many stores to close their doors

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7 December 2021 | 0

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More than 300 Spar stores across the north of England have been affected by a cyber-attack, with some being forced to close their doors.

On Sunday, unknown threat actors targeted James Hall & Company in Preston, Lancashire, which operates Spar’s tills and IT systems and provides stocks to hundreds of Spar sites across the north of England.

Shops have since not been able to take card payments. Some have avoided closure by switching to cash only payments.

The incident impacted all IT systems in the company, leaving staff without access to emails, a spokesperson has said.

The company’s IT staff worked through the Sunday night to try to fix the problems.

Spar Lawrence Hunt & Co Ltd., which operates 25 branches across Lancashire, said Monday afternoon that there was “no time set to be back online”. It tweeted: “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.”

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

The incident is being investigated by The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Lancashire Police. A spokesperson for the NCSC said they were aware of the security incident impacting Spar stores and had been working with the police to fully understand the issue.

“The NCSC has published guidance for organisations on how to effectively detect, respond to and resolve cyber incidents,” the spokesperson added.

Based in the Netherlands, Spar operates a franchise model with more than 13,000 individual stores globally.

 

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