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Supervalu hit by hackers, data breach affects 180 stores

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A new data breach at an American retailer has yet again put the focus on personal security when purchasing items at stores in the country. Supervalu reports it is investigating a data breach that could have affected some 180 stores and threatens millions of customers' personal data, which could have been accessed by hackers.

The grocery store chain said on Aug. 15 that stores in five states could have been hit by the data breach. The states the company cites include Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and Virginia. The breach reportedly occurred between June 22 and July 17. It also includes some of the company's liquor shops as well.

According to Supervalu, hackers appear to have been able to access a network the company has that stores transaction data, including account numbers, credit card expiration dates, cardholders' names and other personal information.

"The safety of our customers' personal information is a top priority for us," said President and CEO Sam Duncan.  "The intrusion was identified by our internal team, it was quickly contained, and we have had no evidence of any misuse of any customer data.  I regret any inconvenience that this may cause our customers but want to assure them that it is safe to shop in our stores."

Cards where cardholder data may have been stolen were used at 180 Supervalu stores and liquor shops under the names Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy. The company is also looking into another potential breach of 29 franchised Cub Food stores and liquor shops.

There is no evidence that cardholder data was stolen or that it has been misued. The release of information about the breach was released out of "an abundance of caution," the company said. Since Supervalu  provides IT services to Albertson's LLC and New Albertson's stores, there also was a related criminal intrusion at some of those stores.

This latest breach comes only months after the mega-retailer Target was hit hard by a data breach, which affected tens of millions of customers of the popular chain. The data breach took place when an intruder gained unauthorized access to its network and stole certain payment card and other guest information, Tech Times reports.

That breach has led to the company taking a hit publicly as it moves to rectify any security issues. But the company has said the breach has hit the company hard on its financial status.

The company announced its second quarter financial results will likely include gross expenses of $148 million emanating from the data breach. There will be an offset, though, by $38 million through insurance payments, approximately 25 percent of the total.

"Since the data breach last December, we have been focused on providing clarity on the company's estimated financial exposure to breach-related claims," said John Mulligan, interim president and CEO, CFO of Target Corp.

Supervalu hopes it can get ahead of the breach and work with customers to ensure their security when making purchases in order to avoid the fallout that Target experienced.

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