Danish supermarkets Bilka, Fotex hit by Black Friday cyber attacks

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving and the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving and the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

COPENHAGEN (REUTERS) - Danish supermarket chains Bilka and Fotex said their websites had been taken down by cyber attacks at the launch of their Black Friday (Nov 24) sales campaigns.

The websites were hit by "malicious cyber-connection" attacks, an advanced form of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack where hackers send numerous requests to refresh the websites, causing them to crash, a spokesman of Dansk Supermarked A/S, the owner of both chains, said.

However, the hackers were not attempting to obtain data from the company or its customers, and it was too early to say how sales would be impacted on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, he added.

Dansk Supermarked, the country's second largest supermarket retailer with a market share of around one-third, owns and operates 100 Fotex supermarkets and 18 Bilka hypermarkets in Denmark.

It also runs Netto discount retail shops in Germany, Poland and Sweden. Netto was not affected by the cyber attack.

Earlier this month, A.P. Moller-Maersk agreed to sell its remaining 19 per cent stake in Dansk Supermarked to Salling Companies for 5.53 billion Danish crowns (S$1.2bil). Maersk itself faces a bill of up to US$300 million after the Petya cyber attack in June severely hit its container shipping business and port operations.