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Monday 20 November 2017

Centra, Clerys and Postbank latest companies embroiled in hacking scandal

Clerys has joined the list of companies which had credit or debit cards exposed.
Clerys has joined the list of companies which had credit or debit cards exposed.

Clerys, Centra, Stena Line and Postbank have joined the list of companies hit by one of Ireland’s biggest ever hacking incidents. understands that the customer details of these firms were affected by the massive security breach that exposed over 87,000 Irish people and 1.1m Europeans to criminal hackers.

Customers of Unislim Northern and were also hit, understands.

Of these companies, Clerys, Stena Line and Unislim Northern had credit or debit card details exposed in relation to loyalty travel campaigns operated by Ennis-based Loyaltybuild on their behalf. understands that the number of customers affected in each of the newly-revealed firms is low, possibly numbering no more than several hundred in total.

The companies join a lengthening list of firms affected by the hacking attack, including SuperValu (70,000 customers), Axa (8,000 customers) and the ESB (6,800 customers).

The Irish Independent revealed on Wednesday that more companies were to be named in what has become one of Ireland’s worst ever hacking attacks.

The news comes after The Irish Independent revealed today that two Irish banks have reported that a number of attempted fraudulent transactions have been detected on the credit cards of customers caught in the Loyaltybuild hacking attack.

Spokesmen for both AIB and Permanent TSB said that affected customers would be contacted about the unauthorised activity. The scale of this fraudulent activity has not yet been ascertained. However, both banks said that debit card holders, including Laser, Maestro and Visa Debit customers, were “unlikely” to have been hit.

Spokesmen for Bank Of Ireland and Ulster Bank told The Irish Independent that they were still assessing the situation and that there were no clear indications yet of fraudulent activity associated with the hacking attack.

Yesterday, it emerged that 6,700 customers of Electric Ireland were also hit in the hacking attack. This affected data included the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for customers who had booked discount hotel breaks with ESB managed by LoyaltyBuild between 2007 and 2008.

Meanwhile, the head of Ireland’s credit card industry body moved to reassure people that few of the 80,000 Irish people hit by the recent Loyaltybuild hacking attack will see any fraud on their credit cards. Irish Payments Services Organisation boss Una Dillon also said that 26,000 debit card holders hit by the hacking attack would not be affected as the cards would have expired since the period that the transactions occurred.

The Data Protection Commissioner said that the data breach at Loyalty Build happened in mid-October so that customers of the affected firms whose credit and debit card details were compromised should check transactions in the last month.

Over 40pc of IT managers in Irish companies admitted to data breaches in their workplace according to a survey this year by the Association of Data Protection Officers and the Irish Computer Society. This survey of 300 managers was a warning sign for the current data breach even though such problems could cost companies millions, they noted.

The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation are currently investigating the data breach, while a separate investigation is underway by the Data Protection Commissioner.


Adrian Weckler, Technology Editor

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