Cyberattack on Massy Stores forces closure

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Massy Stores supermarket in Westmoorings. The supermarket chain is part of Massy Holdings, which operates in TT and other Caribbean countries. – FILE PHOTO/ROGER JACOB

Massy Stores throughout Trinidad were closed on Thursday after a failure of the IT system prevented customers from shopping.

In a media release shortly after 4 pm, Massy Stores confirmed that it was the target of a cybersecurity attack and had to shut down operations at its 23 stores islandwide.

Massy said, “The company took immediate action, suspending all customer-facing systems, and has been working with third-party experts to resolve the situation.

“Backup servers were not affected, and the technical team is actively working with the expert teams to restore the system safely and in the shortest time possible.

“The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation.”

It added that the incident will take time some to resolve and all its supermarkets remained closed for the rest of Thursday, but it was expected that all stores would open as usual on Friday.

Marketing and communications assistant vice president Candace Ali said customers were unable to buy grocery or pharmacy items but could buy prepared food in cash transactions.

She said the technical difficulties hampered the front-end checkout systems, so all cash points had to be closed in Trinidad only. All other stores in the region were operating normally.

“Anyone who showed up was told that we could not facilitate any transactions. The only thing we are able to sell is prepared food, so we had stations set up at the front of the stores for that.

“For the most part we would be back up, because we have robust IT systems and there are always server back-ups. Customers can keep checking our social media pages for updates.”

She said as yet the company was unable to determine the losses or the cost of repairs.

The supermarket franchise has 61 stores in the Caribbean region.

In a media release shortly after noon on Thursday, Massy Stores notified its customers about the technical difficulties and apologised for the inconvenience since it also had to suspend curbside and delivery.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, all Massy Stores supermarkets across the country are affected. These challenges impact on our customer shopping experience as items cannot be purchased from our store locations or pharmacies at this time.

“Surepay and Moneygram customers are also advised to visit alternative locations to access bill payment and wire money transfer services,” it said.

It said its technical team was working to restore the system as soon as possible and was investigating the cause of the problem.

The supermarket also advised Massy cardholders to keep copies of their bills in order to be credited with Massy points at a later date.

Customers can contact the customer care team for further support by calling 768 7225, 609 4456 ext 31088 or emailing [email protected]