Schnucks discloses details of breach affecting 2.4M customers

Last month, Schnucks Markets, a multi-state chain of grocery markets, disclosed that customers at some of its stores had become victims of card fraud. I duly entered the reports in DataLossDB.org, but didn’t post anything on this blog.

This past week, I emailed Schnucks to ask for some more details. They declined to answer any specifics, but just today issued a statement that does address some of the questions I had posed to them:

Leaders of St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, Inc., today announced that between December 2012 and March 29, 2013, approximately 2.4 million credit and debit cards used at 79 of its 100 stores may have been compromised.  The company emphasizes that only the card number and expiration date would have been accessed – not the cardholder’s name, address or any other identifying information.

Schnucks has posted a list of the 79 stores and specific dates for each store at www.schnucks.com.  In addition, Schnucks has distributed a timeline of the actions taken to investigate, find, contain, and share information about the cyber-attack, as well as a personal video message from Chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck.

“On behalf of myself, the Schnuck family, and all of our 15,000 teammates, I apologize to everyone affected by this incident,” said Scott Schnuck. “Over the years, technology has helped us deliver superior customer service, but it also introduces risks that we have actively worked to manage through compliance audits, encryption technology and various other security measures.”

“We’ve worked hard to provide a secure transaction environment for our customers and, today I make a personal pledge to you that we will be relentless in maintaining the security of our payment processing system. We expect that the actions we have taken and will take in the future will send a clear signal that our customers may continue to trust us,” said Schnuck.

Schnucks has worked with its payment processor to make sure all potentially affected card numbers are sent to the credit card companies so that they may continue sending alerts to the issuing banks.  Those banks will then be able to take steps to protect their cardholders, such as adding enhanced transaction monitoring or reissuing a new card.  Many banks have already taken these steps.

“Customers have asked me if it is safe to shop at Schnucks,” continued Schnuck. “Yes, we believe it is, and we will work hard to keep it that way.”

Schnucks has created a dedicated call center for customers if they have additional questions about what happened and steps they can take to protect themselves. Please call 1-888-414-8022, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and through the weekendSaturday and Sunday, April 20-21, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Schnucks provided the Secret Service and FBI with information about the methods and tools used by the attacker and has worked and will continue to partner with law enforcement to apprehend those responsible.

The press release incorporates an FAQ for consumers.

This is an example of good transparency by a breached entity. They disclosed the breach as soon as they became aware of it (even if it took from December to March to become aware of it and even though they had to be told by their card processor to look for a breach), and they updated their reports by revealing more of what they found as they found it, including the numbers affected.

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