La. Albertson’s avoid cyber attack

Albertsons stores in Louisiana have apparently escaped hackers’ recent efforts to steal credit- and debit-card information from the supermarket chain, according to parent company AB Acquisition LLC.

But Albertsons customers in Southern California, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Southern Utah were among those who were affected by the cyberattack.

However, AB Acquisition said it has not determined that any cardholder data was stolen, and the company has no evidence that the information has been misused.

Mark Bates, senior vice president and chief information officer at AB Acquisition, said as soon as the company learned of the attack, it began working with its IT services provider, SuperValu, to figure out what happened.

“It’s important to note that there is no evidence at this point that consumer data has been misused,” Bates said.

AB Acquisition officials believe the intrusion has been contained and are confident that customers can safely use their credit and debit cards in its stores.

Federal law enforcement officials have been notified, according to AB Acquisition. The company is also working closely with SuperValu to figure out the nature and scope of the attack.

The attacks appear to have taken place between June 22 and July 17.

The announcement lengthens the list of retailers that have had security walls breached in recent months, including Target, P.F. Chang’s and even the thrift store operations of Goodwill Industries International Inc.

Hackers accessed a network that processes Supervalu transactions, with account numbers, expiration dates, cardholder names and other information possibly stolen, the company said. Those systems are still being used by the stores sold off by Supervalu last year for $3.3 billion, potentially opening up customer data at those stores as well.

The cards from which data may have been stolen were used at 180 Supervalu stores and liquor stores run under the Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Shop ‘n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy names. Data may also have been stolen from 29 franchised Cub Foods stores and liquor stores. Those stores in North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Missouri.

But Supervalu said that a related criminal intrusion occurred at the chain stores it sold to Cerebus Capital Management LP in March 2013, stores that Supervalu continues to supply with information technology services.

Those stores include Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market — and related Osco and Sav-on in-store pharmacies in two dozen states.

Cerebus affiliate AB Acquisition said that it’s working closely with Supervalu to evaluate the scope of the potential breach.

Associated Press business writer Michelle Chapman contributed to this report.