Wetherspoon’s customers and staff across the country have been alerted to a data breach after hackers illegally accessed private information.
The pub company, which has outlets at The Square Bottle and The Forest House in Chester city centre , says ‘extremely limited’ credit/debit card details were accessed for a tiny minority of 100 customers who purchased Wetherspoon vouchers online before August 2014.
Only the last four digits were obtained. Other information, such as the customer name and the expiry date, were not compromised meaning the card details alone can’t be used for fraudulent purposes.
Data analyst John Murray, of Queen’s Park , Chester, has received an email alert from Wetherspoon’s because he registered his details when signed up for wi fi in The Forest House in Love Street.
Mr Murray is not overly concerned on this occasion but says recent instances of databases being hacked, including phone company Talk Talk, shows retailers need to up their game.
He said: “I think a lot of the software behind the websites is quite common and therefore people know how it works so hackers find these vulnerabilities and exploit them.”
With any website where you need to log in, Mr Murray always checks it has a security certificate by clicking on the padlock icon on the browser bar.
He added: “I always use reputable retailers but reputable retailers have been hacked so I think the industry needs a fundamental rethink.”
JD Wetherspoon says the data was obtained from its old website, which has been replaced in its entirety.
The company’s current website is managed by a new digital partner, which has no connection to the website that was the subject of the security breach.
As well as alerting customers to the situation by email, Wetherspoon’s has also instructed a leading cyber security specialist to conduct a full forensic investigation into the breach.
Some personal staff details, registered before 10th November 2011, were stolen, but no salary, bank, tax or national insurance information was accessed.
Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “We apologise wholeheartedly to customers and staff who have been affected.
“Unfortunately, hacking is becoming more and more sophisticated and widespread. We are determined to respond to this by increasing our efforts and investment in security and will be doing everything possible to prevent a recurrence.”