[UPDATED] A cyber attack paralyzes Massy Stores and forces the closure of 23 supermarkets

ByRichard C. Sloan

Apr 29, 2022
[UPDATED] A cyber attack paralyzes Massy Stores and forces the closure of 23 supermarkets

News



The Massy Stores supermarket in Cascade, St Ann’s remained closed on Thursday. -ROGER JACOB

A cyberattack crippled Massy Stores in Trinidad on Thursday, forcing the supermarket giant to close its 23 stores across the island.

The coup caused a failure in its computer system which prevented customers from shopping not only at its stores but also at in-store pharmacies and affected its money transfer services – Surepay and Moneygram.

In a press release shortly after 4 p.m., Massy Stores confirmed that it had been the target of a cybersecurity attack.

“The company took immediate action, suspending all customer-facing systems, and working with third-party experts to resolve the situation.

“The backup servers have not been affected, and the technical team is actively working with the expert teams to restore the system safely and as soon as possible.

“The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation,” he said.

Massy Stores added that the incident will take time to resolve and that all of its supermarkets remained closed for the rest of Thursday but are expected to resume normal operations on Friday.

Assistant vice president of marketing and communications Candace Ali said customers could not purchase grocery or drugstore items, but could purchase prepared meals through cash transactions.

She said technical difficulties hampered their front-end payment systems, so all outlets had to be closed in Trinidad only, but all other stores in the area were operating normally.

She said: “Anyone who showed up was told we couldn’t facilitate any transactions. The only thing we can sell is prepared food, so we’ve set up stations at the front of stores for that. »

“In most cases we would be backup because we have a robust IT system and there are always backup servers. Customers can continue to check our social media pages for updates.

“We are unable to determine the losses at this time and the cost of repair work.”

The supermarket chain has 23 stores in Trinidad and 61 stores in the Caribbean region.

In a statement shortly after noon Thursday, Massy Stores informed customers of the technical difficulties and apologized for the inconvenience as it also had to suspend curbside and delivery services.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, all Massy Stores supermarkets in the country are affected. These challenges are impacting our customers’ shopping experience, as items cannot be purchased in our stores or pharmacies at this time.

“Surepay and Moneygram customers are also advised to travel to other locations to access bill payment and money transfer services,” he said.

Massy Stores cardholders were advised to keep a copy of their invoices in order to be credited with points later.

ASP Sheridon Hill of the TTPS communications unit said the company did not report by 6 p.m.

“Officials from the National Cyber ​​Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) have contacted the police, and they are aware of the incident through the media, but they have not received any official reports from anyone who may have been affected. If a report has been made, we will do our investigations,” he told Newsday.

Ali said she was unable to confirm whether Massy Stores reported the matter to the police cybercrime unit.

Supermarket Association of TT (SATT) President Rajiv Diptee said the incident was a serious concern not just for its members but for any business using the technology for money and data transactions.

He said that cybercrime has been increasing globally recently due to the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“What we have noticed is that the attacks are coming from, although it is very difficult to confirm, the attacks are not in local territories. It is really up to the stores to determine the IT integrity of the operations that they have in place.

“Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a spike in activity in relation to cyberattacks and this is something that we have sought to manage, with the help of the cybersecurity and reporting unit of impact and organized a stakeholder session in 2020 and 2021,” Diptee said.

He added that Massy Stores handled the crisis well and was in constant communication with its customers, ensuring their data was protected.

The SATT, Diptee said, will take strategic steps to ensure its members do not take cyberattacks for granted and that all necessary measures to protect against them are in place.

“These attacks are real. That’s another level of protection needed now. We will have to make some changes, and these will be internal and based on the professionals we bring in and the CSIRT. The integrity of the systems we use must be robust.

This was not the first cybersecurity attack against a large company. In 2020, Ansa McAl Group was attacked by a Russian ransomware organization, which started in Barbados and spread to the company’s operations in TT, subsequently leading to the shutdown of Tatil and Tatil Life.

This story was originally published with the title “Cyberattack on Massy Stores forces closure” and has been adjusted to include additional details. See the original post below.

Massy stores in Trinidad were closed on Thursday after a computer system crash prevented customers from shopping.

In a press release shortly after 4 p.m., Massy Stores confirmed that it was the target of a cybersecurity attack and had to halt operations at its 23 stores across the island.

Massy said: “The company took immediate action, suspending all customer-facing systems, and working with third-party experts to resolve the situation.

“The backup servers have not been affected, and the technical team is actively working with the expert teams to restore the system safely and as soon as possible.

“The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation.”

He added that the incident will take time to resolve and that all his supermarkets remained closed for the rest of Thursday, but all shops were expected to open as usual on Friday.

Assistant vice president of marketing and communications Candace Ali said customers could not purchase grocery or drugstore items, but could purchase prepared foods with cash.

She said technical difficulties were hampering front-end payment systems, so all outlets had to be closed in Trinidad only. All other stores in the area were operating normally.

“Anyone who showed up was told we couldn’t facilitate any transactions. The only thing we can sell is prepared food, so we’ve set up stations at the front of stores for that.

“For the most part, we would be back-up, as we have robust IT systems and there are always server backups. Customers can continue to check our social media pages for updates.”

She said the company was not yet able to determine losses or the cost of repairs.

The supermarket franchise has 61 stores in the Caribbean region.

In a statement shortly after midday Thursday, Massy Stores informed customers of the technical difficulties and apologized for the inconvenience as it also had to suspend curbside and delivery.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, all Massy Stores supermarkets in the country are affected. These challenges are impacting our customers’ shopping experience, as items cannot be purchased in our stores or pharmacies at this time.

“Surepay and Moneygram customers are also advised to travel to other locations to access bill payment and money transfer services,” he said.

He said his technical team was working to restore the system as soon as possible and investigating the cause of the problem.

The supermarket also advised Massy cardholders to keep a copy of their invoices so that they could later be credited with Massy points.

Customers can contact the Customer Services team for further assistance by calling 768 7225, 609 4456 ext 31088 or emailing customerexperience.tt@massystores.com