Woolies suffers a data breach through its MyDeal customers

October 16, 2022 |

Loyalty and rewards programs are just sophisticated data gathering machines.  Whatever benefits clients obtain from these programs the price is the constant collection of data.  The adage applies “If you are getting something for free, you are the product.” And so it is with Woolies My Deal program.  It needs data, lots of it, to assist Woolies make offers and determine trends.

There is nothing exceptional in any of that except when there is a cyber attack.  Which has happened in a report by Guardian with Woolworths says 2.2 million MyDeal customers’ details exposed in data breach.

The Guardian article provides:

Millions of customers’ details have been exposed in a major data breach at an online shopping site owned by the retail giant Woolworths.

The company says a compromised user credential was used to get access to customer information from the MyDeal website.

MyDeal was in the process of contacting an estimated 2.2 million customers who were affected in the breach, the Woolworths Group said in a statement.

The details exposed included customer names, email addresses, phone numbers and delivery addresses, as well as birth dates for people who had to verify their ages when buying alcohol.

In the case of 1.2 million customers, only their email addresses were exposed.

MyDeal did not store sensitive records like payment information, driver’s licence or passport details, and no passwords were compromised in the breach, the company said.

Woolworths took an 80% stake in MyDeal in September in a takeover worth more than $200m.

The company said MyDeal’s systems operated on a different platform to the broader group and no Woolworths customer details had been exposed in the breach.

The MyDeal chief executive, Sean Senvirtne, apologised for the concern the breach would cause for affected customers.

“We will continue to work with relevant authorities as we investigate the incident and we will keep our customers fully informed of any further updates impacting them,” he said.

The MyDeal data breach follows a massive hack at telco Optus in which the personal details of about 10 million customers were exposed.

That breach is subject to multiple investigations after the passport, licence and Medicare numbers of hundreds of thousands of Australians were compromised.

The government has vowed to review Australia’s privacy laws after the Optus hack and tighter protections could be introduced before the end of the year.

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