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Retailer London Drugs closes stores in Western Canada due to ‘cybersecurity incident’ | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


VANCOUVER — Confused shoppers milled around the front of a London Drugs store in downtown Vancouver on Monday, some wondering aloud why they couldn’t access the store to get prescriptions or buy hair dye.

A metal gate was blocking them from the store at the corner of West Georgia and Granville streets, a security guard occasionally directing perplexed customers to a sign announcing the “temporary store closure.”

It wasn’t alone — London Drugs shut all of its stores in Western Canada on Sunday as it grappled with a “cybersecurity incident.”

In a statement Monday, the retail and pharmacy chain said it learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity incident on Sunday, when it first closed its stores “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Upon discovering the incident, London Drugs immediately undertook countermeasures to protect its network and data, including retaining leading third-party cybersecurity experts to assist with containment, remediation and to conduct a forensic investigation,” the company said.

“At this time, we have no reason to believe that customer or employee data has been impacted.”

The sign at the downtown Vancouver store said it was shut until further notice but pharmacists were standing by for urgent needs.

It included a number to call for assistance, and the chain said in its statement that pharmacists were still available, but when The Canadian Press rang the automated system, the line abruptly disconnected.

The retailer has offered no timeline for when its stores may reopen.

London Drugs, a Richmond, B.C.-based business which opened in 1945 with a name meant to be a nod to England’s capital, sells everything from pharmaceuticals to groceries and electronics.

It has more than 80 stores across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and B.C.

“We apologize for any inconvenience caused and we want to assure you that this incident is the utmost priority for us at London Drugs,” the company said in its statement.

The incident facing London Drugs comes a month after discount chain Giant Tiger Stores Ltd. reported some of its customers’ data was compromised in an “incident” linked to a third-party vendor it uses.

Over the last two years, Indigo Books & Music, the LCBO, the Nova Scotia government, the Toronto Public Library and the City of Hamilton in Ontario have also fallen victim to cyber incidents.

The country saw 74,073 police-reported cybercrimes in 2022, up from 71,727 in 2021 and 33,893 in 2018, Statistics Canada data shows.

Experts have long cautioned that cybercrimes tend to be under-reported because of the stigma, embarrassment and repercussions victims often experience.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2024.

Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press

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