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Closure of Spar stores in northern UK after cyberattack • The Register


The UK branch of Dutch supermarket chain Spar has closed hundreds of stores after suffering an “online attack,” the company confirmed to The register.

“It has not affected all of the SPAR stores in the north of England,” a Spar spokesperson told us, “but a number have been affected in the past 24 hours and we are working to resolve this situation. as quickly as possible”.

LancsLive, a local Lancashire news site, reported that a “total and widespread computer failure” hit the channel over the weekend, along with “security breach” issues today.

The publication reported that the food disti James Hall & Co, which provides services to 600 Spar stores, was also down – the company’s website only shows an error code 20, indicating a general failure. of the network.

“At James Hall we are currently aware of an online attack on our computer systems. It has affected around 330 SPAR stores in the north of England in the past 24 hours and we are working to resolve this situation on as quickly as possible, “he said. LancsLive.

“This is currently affecting the ability of stores to process card payments, which means a number of SPAR stores are currently closed to shoppers or only accept cash payments. We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers and are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue. the situation, “the statement added.

It is not yet clear whether the incidents are part of a ransomware attack or just a catastrophic computer collapse caused by something else.

Spar has a total of 2,600 stores in the UK and, according to its website, an annual turnover of £ 3 billion. All over the world, the Dutch-owned chain has 13,000 stores. Most of them are locally owned franchises, with some located at independent gas stations. The closure of these therefore means that some gas stations are also closed.

An Esso-branded gas station in Ulverston, Cumbria was forced to close, with its operators claiming on Facebook that it was Spar’s fault:

Mountbarrow gas station Facebook post about Spar shutting down in December 2021

Likewise, Lawrence Hunt & Co Ltd, another Spar franchisee, used Facebook to announce its closure yesterday “due to a total network outage affecting cash registers, credit cards and back office systems.”

Facebook post by Spar franchisee Lawrence Hunt on December 2021 closures

Spar is not the only major UK retailer to have suffered a recent cyberattack. In October, Tesco suffered a two-day outage after unidentified attackers made an “attempt to interfere” with its website. Weeks later pranksters compromised the Angling Direct website, directing people looking for fishing gear to websites with an entirely different form of gear.

Furniture Village, another UK retailer, was also hit by a “cyberattack” in June. With companies like these processing and storing information on millions of Britons, it’s no surprise that they are now in the sights of criminals looking to steal and wreak havoc online. ®