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King Kullen says its computer system hacked, affecting electronic payments

A King Kullen in Hungtington, April 3, 2020.

A King Kullen in Hungtington, April 3, 2020. Credit: Shelby Knowles

King Kullen’s computer systems were hacked, which affected the grocer’s ability to accept electronic payments, according to the company’s president.

On Sept. 16, the Hauppauge-based grocery chain experienced an "unauthorized entry into our corporate computer systems, causing a disruption in certain functions at both store and headquarter locations," Joseph W. Brown, King’s Kullen’s president and chief operating officer, said in a statement Friday.

The breach affected the chain’s ability to process debit and some credit card payments, he said. It also affected the processing of payments made by Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, which allows participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the food stamp program, to pay for food with special debit cards.

King Kullen’s computer systems are now functional, Brown said, but he did not say when the problem was addressed.

When asked by Newsday whether any theft from customers had occurred, King Kullen said, "There is no data stored on our system that would provide access to customer credit or debit activity."

A forensic examination showed that the company’s employee database had not been compromised, Brown said.

The grocer is "working with the proper authorities" to identify the source of the breach, and is enhancing its security measures to protect against future incidents, Brown said.

King Kullen declined to provide more information on the hacking, including the source of the breach, when the issue was fixed, the number of stores affected and the names of the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation.

King Kullen Grocery Co. Inc. has 29 King Kullen grocery stores and five Wild by Nature natural food stores, all on Long Island.

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