Britain’s Dixons Carphone suffers cyberattack on customer data

Dixons Carphone issued a profit warning last month. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Britain’s Dixons Carphone suffers cyberattack on customer data

  • Attempt in July last year to compromise data on 5.9 million credit cards
  • Shares in Dixons Carphone have fallen 37 percent so far this year

LONDON: British mobile phone and electricals retailer Dixons Carphone has become the victim of a major cyberattack for the second time in three years after discovering unauthorized access to its payment card data.
Shares in Dixons Carphone, which issued a profit warning last month, fell as much as 6.4 percent on Wednesday, taking year-on-year losses to 37 percent.
“We have taken action to close off this access and have no evidence it is continuing. We have no evidence to date of any fraudulent use of the data as result of these incidents,” the company said.
It said an investigation, which started last week, indicated there was an attempt, going back to July last year, to compromise data on 5.9 million credit cards in one of the processing systems of Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores.
It said 5.8 million of these cards had chip and pin protection and the data accessed contained neither pin codes, card verification values nor any authentication data that would enable cardholder identification or purchases to be made.
However, it said 105,000 non-EU issued payment cards which do not have chip and pin protection had been compromised.
Dixons Carphone said it had immediately notified the relevant card companies so that they could protect customers.
It said it had found no evidence of any fraud on these cards as a result of this incident.
The group said it had also found that 1.2 million records containing non-financial personal data, such as names, addresses or email addresses, had been accessed. It said there was no evidence of fraud here either.
Dixons Carphone informed Britain’s data protection regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), as well as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the police.
The ICO said it was liaising with the National Cyber Security Center, the FCA and other agencies to determine the impact on customers.
The group’s Carphone Warehouse division suffered a data breach in 2015 and in February this year was fined a record matching £400,000 ($533,240) by the ICO. It paid £320,000 as there was a 20 percent reduction for early payment. It said since the 2015 attack it had worked extensively with cybersecurity experts to upgrade its security systems.
In 2016 the ICO fined broadband provider TalkTalk £400,000 for security failings that allowed hackers to launch a cyber-attack in 2015.
“We are extremely disappointed and sorry for any upset this may cause,” Dixons Carphone CEO Alex Baldock said.
“The protection of our data has to be at the heart of our business, and we’ve fallen short here.”
Baldock joined Dixons Carphone in April and last month the group warned on profits and said it would have to close shops, wiping more than £500 million off its stock market value.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said the cyberattack could undermine consumer confidence in the retailer.
“The fact this only came to light now thanks to a review of the company’s systems and data and actually occurred in 2017 is also cause for some concern,” he said.
Because the data breach dates back to last year it will be dealt with by the ICO under the powers of the Data Protection Act 1998 and not the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which went into effect on May 25.
The maximum possible financial penalty under the 1998 Act is £500,000 as opposed to £17 million pounds under GDPR.


OECD warns of global economic slowdown

Updated 21 November 2018
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OECD warns of global economic slowdown

  • ‘We urge policy-makers to help restore confidence in the international rules-based trading system’
  • Trade tensions have already shaved 0.1-0.2 percentage points off global GDP this year

PARIS: The global economy has peaked and faces a slowdown driven by international trade tensions and tighter monetary conditions, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned Wednesday.
The OECD, which groups the top developed economies, said it had trimmed its growth forecast for 2019 to 3.5 percent from the previous 3.7 percent.
The 2018 estimate was left unchanged at 3.7 percent.
For 2020, the global economy should grow 3.5 percent, it said in its latest Economic Outlook report.
“The shakier outlook in 2019 reflects deteriorating prospects, principally in emerging markets such as Turkey, Argentina and Brazil,” it said.
“The further slowdown in 2020 is more a reflection of developments in advanced economies as slower trade and lower fiscal and monetary support take their toll.”
OECD chief Angel Gurria highlighted problems caused by trade conflicts and political uncertainty — an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s stand-off with China which has roiled the markets.
“We urge policy-makers to help restore confidence in the international rules-based trading system,” Gurria said in a statement.
Trade tensions have already shaved 0.1-0.2 percentage points off global GDP this year, the Economic Outlook report said.
If Washington were to hike tariffs to 25 percent on all Chinese imports — as Trump has threatened to do — world economic growth could fall to close to three percent in 2020.
Growth rates would drop by an estimated 0.8 percent in the US and by 0.6 percent in China, it added.
For the moment, the OECD puts US economic growth at 2.9 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2019, unchanged from previous estimates, but trimmed China by 0.1 percentage point each to 6.6 percent and 6.3 percent.
It warned that “a much sharper slowdown in Chinese growth would damage global growth significantly, particularly if it were to hit financial market confidence.”
Laurence Boone, OECD Chief Economist, said “There are few indications at present that the slowdown will be more severe than projected. But the risks are high enough to raise the alarm and prepare for any storms ahead.”