Hackers going after restaurants, supermarkets

Men indicted for installing software at cash register terminals that captured credit and debit card data, after supermarket shoppers in California have their data stolen.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read

Updated 4:30 p.m. PST with news of the hacker attack on the state-owned Zimbabwe newspaper

Many people are worried about hackers stealing their data when they buy things or bank online, but it's turning out that even an innocent trip to a restaurant or supermarket can be risky.

Three men from the Ukraine, Estonia, and Miami, were indicted on charges related to stealing credit card data by hacking into cash register terminals at nearly a dozen Dave & Buster's chain of restaurants around the country, according to the Department of Justice.

The men gained unauthorized access to the cash register terminals and installed packet sniffer software that captured credit and debit card data as it moved from the terminal to the company's corporate headquarters and the data processor's computer system. The hackers then sold the stolen data to others who used it to make purchases and resold it, officials said.

One location alone captured data for about 5,000 cards, leading to losses of at least $600,000 to financial institutions, the DOJ said.

Earlier this month, California police said a credit and debit card reader in a checkout aisle at a Lunardi's supermarket in Los Gatos, Calif., was switched and more than 100 customers had their data stolen as a result.

The victims were losing an average of $1,000 from their bank accounts, the MSNBC report said.

In other hacker-related news, attackers shut down the Web site of Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper for three days, Reuters reported.

Visitors to the site were redirected to the site of a state-owned Sunday newspaper, and headlines were replaced by the word "Gukurahundi," which refers to a campaign of atrocities Zimbabwe's government has been accused of committing after independence, the report said.