Following a weekend hack, about 330 SPAR outlets in northern England are experiencing severe operational issues, causing many of them to shut or convert to cash-only payments. SPAR is a global grocery chain with 13,320 locations in 48 countries. However, the recent security breach only impacted areas in the north of England.
According to Lawrence Hunt & Co Ltd, the complete IT failure has disrupted tills, credit card payment processing systems, and still prohibits them from accessing emails. The incident has also impacted James Hall and Co, a Preston-based food wholesaler that services 600 SPAR outlets across Lancashire. It said to the local media:
“We are currently aware of an online attack on our IT systems. This has affected around 330 SPAR stores across the North of England over the past 24 hours, and we are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. It is currently impacting stores’ ability to process card payments meaning that a number of SPAR stores are currently closed to shoppers or only taking cash payments,” a spokesman for James Hall & Co said.
It is now affecting the capacity of retailers to process card payments, resulting in several SPAR outlets being closed to customers or only accepting cash payments. The company is apologetic for the trouble caused to its customers, and it is trying to rectify the matter as fast as possible. Customers of SPAR Ribchester were advised that there is currently no estimate for restoring the systems.
The shop’s closure and the closure of numerous other SPAR locations around the region indicate that whatever problems the cyberattack generated are still unsolved. While the security event appears to be a ransomware attack that has shut down critical IT systems, the nature of the malware has yet to be publicly revealed. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of the United Kingdom has issued a statement informing customers that the agency is aware of the situation and is investigating the occurrence.