Canadian Security Magazine

Retailer London Drugs closes stores in Western Canada due to ‘cybersecurity incident’

The Canadian Press   

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A London Drugs store is shown In Vancouver on Wednesday Oct. 18, 2023. Retail and pharmacy chain London Drugs says in a post on social media that it has closed all of its stores in Western Canada temporarily due to what it called an "operational issue." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nono Shen

London Drugs has temporarily closed all of its stores in Western Canada as it grapples with a “cybersecurity incident.”

In a statement Monday, the retailer 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.”

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The retailer offered no timeline for when closed 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.

Despite its stores being shut, the chain said pharmacists are still able to help with urgent needs. It advised customers to phone their local store’s pharmacy to make arrangements.

“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.


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