Possible Tesco hack sees customers unable to order goods and track deliveries

On Saturday the 23rd of October, supermarket giant Tesco saw its services crash after what Tesco said were attempts “to interfere with our systems”.

The possible hack at Britain’s biggest supermarket began with shoppers unable to order goods and track deliveries. Tesco initially said there was “an issue”, but in a Sunday update said there had been deliberate disruption.

The supermarket later confirmed on Twitter that its groceries website and app were back up and running, but it was temporarily using a “virtual waiting room” to manage the high volume of traffic.

Tesco said the attempts to compromise its systems were made overnight from Friday to Saturday, but was not more specific.

According to Downdetector, which monitors website outages, shoppers began reporting issues early on Saturday morning. However, the scale of the problem, and whether the issue was nationwide or only in certain areas, remained unclear on Sunday night.

Industry reaction

Ed Macnair, CEO of the cyber-security firm Censornet, commented: “A shopping trolley of data from Britain’s biggest supermarket is an attractive target. The hacker’s intention will have been to check-out with a considerable amount of customer data. This disruption will hit hard, as retailers trade on their ability to click, collect, deliver – anytime of the day or night.

“Hackers are looking for the weak link in the attack kill chain. It is why organisations need to urgently assess how their cyber defences can be more autonomous, more intelligent and better coordinated to best protect customer data.”

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