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Swedish Coop supermarkets shuts down due to cyber-attack

GUSTAV CEDER

Some 500 Coop supermarket stores in Sweden have been forced to close due to an ongoing “colossal” cyber-attack affecting organisations around the world.

Coop Sweden says it closed more than half of its 800 stores on Friday after point-of-sale tills and self-service checkouts stopped working.

The supermarket was not itself targeted by hackers – but is one of a growing number of organisations affected by an attack on a large software supplier the company uses indirectly.

Cyber researchers say about 200 businesses have been hit by this “colossal” ransomware attack, which had mainly affected the US.

Cyber-security firm Huntress Labs said the hack targeted Florida-based IT company Kaseya before spreading through corporate networks that use its software. The firm believes the Russia-linked REvil ransomware gang was responsible. Kaseya said in a statement on its own website that it was investigating a “potential attack”.

A spokeswoman for Coop Sweden told the BBC: “We first noticed problems in a small number of stores on Friday evening around 6:30pm so we closed those stores early. Then overnight we realised it was much bigger and we took the decision not to open most of our stores this morning so that our teams could work out how to fix it.

“The whole paying system at our tills and our self-service checkouts stopped working so we need time to reboot the system.”

It’s understood that Coop doesn’t use Kesaya directly on it’s systems but that one of their software providers does.

The case highlights the growing concern in the cyber-security world about so-called supply chain attacks where hackers are able to claim multiple victims by attacking their supplier.

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