Avanti Market Warns of Kiosk Data & Biometric Breach, What You Can Do

A US self-checkout kiosk designed specifically for use in business and industry convenience store settings, has warned customers that a recent data breach may involve:

  • Names
  • Emails
  • Customer personal information
  • Credit/debit card data, and
  • Biometric information for those customers who used the biometric verification functionality

John Reilly, President of Avanti Markets has released the following statement on the companies website as a Data Incident Notification:

“Dear Valued Customers,

Avanti Markets
Image courtesy of Avanti Markets

Avanti Markets deeply values the relationships we have with individuals who utilize kiosks supported by Avanti Markets.

This notice is to make you aware of an incident which may have resulted in unauthorized access or acquisition of your personal information and/or payment card data, and to provide you information on steps you can take to protect yourself and minimize the possibility of misuse of your information.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and assure you we are working diligently to resolve this incident and to ensure that it will not happen again.

What Happened?

On July 4, 2017, we discovered a sophisticated malware attack which affected kiosks at some Avanti Markets.

Based on our investigation thus far, and although we have not yet confirmed the root cause of the intrusion, it appears the attackers utilized the malware to gain unauthorized access to customer personal information from some kiosks.

Because not all of our kiosks are configured or used the same way, personal information on some kiosks may have been adversely affected, while other kiosks may not have been affected.

(Learn More about Avanti Markets, courtesy of the company and YouTube)

What Information was Involved?

At this point, it appears the malware was designed to gather certain payment card information including the cardholder’s first and last name, credit/debit card number and expiration date.

In addition, users of the Market Card option may have had their names and email addresses compromised, as well as their biometric information if they used the kiosk’s biometric verification functionality.

What We Are Doing

We have been working nonstop to address this incident, including taking the following steps.

  • Immediately upon discovering that we were a victim of a malware attack, we commenced an investigation to determine the scope of this incident and attempt to identify those affected.
  • We worked with our assembled internal response team and took steps to secure our information systems, including changing passwords and other related measures.
  • We retained a nationally-recognized forensic investigation firm and outside legal counsel to assist.
  • We are notifying the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and other law enforcement agencies.
Image courtesy of Avanti Markets
Image courtesy of Avanti Markets
  • We have shut down payment processing at some locations and are working with our operators to purge impacted systems of any malware from the attack and take steps to substantially minimize the risk of a data compromise in the future.
  • We are developing a set of comprehensive FAQs to assist affected persons with gathering additional information about the incident and additional steps they can take to protect their personal information and identity. We plan to update these FAQs when we discover further information about the nature and scope of the attack.
  • We are working to make available credit monitoring services at no cost to those individuals whose personal information has been compromised, and will be providing information shortly about the services and enrollment.
  • We are working on setting up a call center that will be available to answer at questions you might have about the incident.
  • We treat all personal information in a confidential manner and are proactive in the careful handling of such information. We continue to assess and modify our privacy and data security policies and procedures to prevent similar situations from occurring. For instance, we are in the middle of implementing an end to end encryption solution for all of our kiosks, and are working on expediting that implementation.  Theft of data and similar incidents are difficult to prevent in all instances, however, we will be reviewing our systems and making improvements where we can to minimize the chances of this happening again. 
Image courtesy of Avanti Markets
Image courtesy of Avanti Markets

What You Can Do

Even if you utilized your payment card at a kiosk, it does not mean you will be affected by this incident.

However, out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that you remain vigilant and consider taking one or more of the following steps to avoid identity theft, obtain additional information, and protect your personal information:

1.) Contact the nationwide credit-reporting agencies as soon as possible to:

Register a Fraud Alert

  • Add a fraud alert statement to your credit file at all three national credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
  • This statement alerts creditors of possible fraudulent activity within your report as well as requests that they contact you prior to establishing any accounts in your name.
  • Once the fraud alert is added to your credit report, all creditors should contact you prior to establishing any account in your name.
  • You only need to contact one of the three agencies listed below; your request will be shared with the other two agencies.
  • To place a 90 day fraud alert on your credit file, log into the Equifax Member Center and click on the fraud alert tab, visit www.fraudalerts.equifax.com or call the auto fraud line at 1-877-478-7625, and follow the simple prompts.
  • This fraud alert will remain on your credit file for 90 days.
Image courtesy of Equifax
Image courtesy of Equifax

Activate a Security Freeze

  • Place a “security freeze” on your credit account.
  • This means that your credit account cannot be shared with potential creditors. A security freeze can help prevent new account identity theft.
  • If you would like to request a security freeze be placed on your account, you must write by certified or overnight mail (see addresses below) to each of the three credit reporting agencies, or through the electronic or Internet method made available by the credit reporting agencies.
  • Credit reporting agencies charge a $5 fee to place or remove a security freeze, unless you provide proof that you are a victim of identity theft, in which case there is no fee.
  • A copy of your police report or an investigative report or written FTC complaint documenting identity theft must be included to avoid a fee.
  • In your request, you also must include (documentation for both the spouse and the victim must be submitted when requesting for the spouse’s credit report)
    • (i) a copy of either the police report or case number documenting the identity theft, if you are a victim of identity theft
    • (ii) your full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.,) address, Social Security number, and date of birth
    • (iii) if you have moved in the past 5 years, the addresses where you have lived over the prior 5 years
    • (iv) proof of current address such as a current utility bill or phone bill
    • (v) a photocopy of a government issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, military identification, etc.) and, if applicable
    • (vi) payment by check, money order or credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express or Discover cards only)

Equifax                             Experian                               TransUnion

P.O. Box 740256                 P.O. Box 9554                         P.O. Box 2000

Atlanta, GA 30374              Allen, TX  75013                      Chester, PA  19022

(800) 525-6285                 (888) 397-3742                       (800) 888-4213

www.equifax.com     www.experian.com/consumer          www.transunion.com

Image courtesy of annualcreditreport.com
Image courtesy of annualcreditreport.com

Obtain a Free Credit Report

Watch Bills, Statements and Mailing Lists

  • If you aren’t already doing so, please pay close attention to all bills and credit-card charges you receive for items you did not contract for or purchase.
  • Review all of your bank account statements frequently for checks, purchases or deductions not made by you.
  • Note that even if you do not find suspicious activity initially, you should continue to check this information periodically since identity thieves sometimes hold on to stolen personal information before using it.
  • Remove your name from mailing lists of pre-approved offers of credit for approximately six months.

2.) Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

You can contact the FTC either by visiting ftc.govwww.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling (877) 438-4338.

If you suspect or know that you are the victim of identity theft, you can report this to the Fraud Department of the FTC, who will collect all information and make it available to law-enforcement agencies.

(Learn More about Avanti Markets, courtesy of the company and YouTube)

Contact information for the FTC is:

Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580

3.) If you believe you are a victim of identity theft

If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you should immediately report same to law enforcement and/or your state attorney general.

4.) For Maryland Residents:

The contact information for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General is: Maryland Office of the Attorney General, 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202; Telephone: (888) 743-0023; website: http://www.oag.state.md.us. 

5.) For North Carolina Residents:

The contact information for the North Carolina Attorney General is: Address: North Carolina Office of the Attorney General, 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699; Telephone: (919) 716-6400; website: ncdoj.com/. 

6.) For Puerto Rico Residents:

The total number of affected individuals is currently unknown. 

7.) For Rhode Island Residents:

The contact information for the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General is: Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General, 150 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903; Telephone: (401) 274-4400; website: http://www.riag.ri.gov.

The total number of affected individuals is currently unknown.

For More Information

John Reilly, President, Avanti Markets
John Reilly, President, Avanti Markets

If you have questions or concerns you may contact, you may contact us SECURITYINCIDENTINFO@AVANTIMARKETS.COM.

Again, we apologize for this situation and any inconvenience it may cause you.”