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Costco now hit by alleged PNI data breach

It's another day, and another data breach apparently, as a number of big retailers – including Costco and Sam's Club – have taken down their online photo printing services due to possible security issues. And these aren't the first to do so…

As you may have seen, last week CVS Health and Walmart Canada also took their photo printing services offline, and the connection is that all these retailers use a third party to run their online service, namely PNI Digital Media. The latter is the source of the suspected data breach, which obviously has a knock-on effect to its customers.

NBC News reports that Kirk Saville, vice president, global communications at Staples, which bought up PNI in 2014, commented: "We take the protection of information very seriously. PNI is investigating a potential credit card data issue, and outside security experts are assisting in the investigation."

It's not just American sites which have been affected either – Tesco also took its service down (which again is run by PNI), and indeed as of the time of writing this morning, Tesco Photo is still not back up.

Tesco has put a message up informing customers that the site is down, but only for routine maintenance, the supermarket claims, noting: “We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and would love to see you when our site is back online.” It has certainly been a lengthy routine maintenance, though…

Apparently some retailers have been informed about the issue and potential data spillage by PNI, while others have simply taken their service down as a precautionary measure. At any rate, Costco said that PNI does not have access to financial data and its customers' credit card information.

It's not the first time large companies will be affected by a breach at a smaller firm they work with, and it won't be the last…

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.