Credit cards also involved in Cheers Liquor security breach

October 19, 2009

A security breach in the credit-card processing system at Cheers Liquor Mart involves both credit and debit cards and likely involves customers of dozens, if not hundreds, of financial institutions nationwide, the Colorado Springs-based retailer said today.

Cheers has shut down a wireless broadband system that was used to process credit-card transactions and replaced it with an older dial-up system that is more secure and difficult to hack, said James Wall, a Denver-based spokesman for Cheers. The wireless broadband system was first accessed illegally in mid-September, and was shut down last week and replaced with a paper-based system until the dial-up system was installed on Friday, he said.

Cheers has hired Cyopsis LLC, a Denver-based information technology forensics and investigations firm, to determine the source of the breach and who is responsible for the theft of the store’s customer information, which appeared to be “an organized group,” Jeff Robinson, one of four Cheers owners, said last week. Cyopsis is cooperating with Colorado Springs Police, he said.

Police spokesman Lt. David Whitlock said today that no new information on the investigation is available. He said last week that “thousands” of customers were affected by the breach. Officials initially thought the breach involved only debit cards and five local financial institutions.

Customers should check their accounts online or on the most recent statement for suspicious transactions, and contact their card issuer if any such transactions are found. Under federal law, customers are not liable for fraudulent transactions on credit or debit cards if they are reported within 60 days of the first statement on which charges appear.

Contact the writer at 636-0234

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