Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Cyberattack continues to plague Co-op retailers

Hackers forced week-long closure of 16 Four Rivers Co-op cardlock fuel filling stations in central Interior
This Four Rivers Co-op cardlock filling station at 988 Railway Ave., in Prince George off Highway 97 was closed for a full week due to a cyberattack that continues to plague parent company, Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

A cyberattack that forced Four Rivers Co-op to shut down its cardlock filling stations for a full week continues to plague the parent company, Federated Co-operatives Limited, which also operates Co-op supermarkets, gas bars and convenience stores in Western Canada.

The cyberattack happened on June 26. FCL called third-party computer experts to investigate and they continue to work with the company’s IT specialists to try to fix the problem created by hackers.

Four Rivers operates 16 cardlock locations in the Central Interior, including two in Prince George that were among the 298 FCL cardlock fuel stations that were closed until 8 p.m. on July 3.

The gas bars/convenience stores and the Vanderhoof Co-Op supermarket remained open for business despite the attack. Four Rivers has cardlocks from Terrace to Valemount and from Fort St. James to 100 Mile House.

The company website remains offline amid worries some personal data might have been compromised in the attack. There is also a concern it might be difficult keeping all the retail stores fully stocked if the company’s computer system remains constrained by the attack.

“We updated social media channels repeatedly,’ said Brad Delorey, FCL’s director of communications and public affairs. “I certainly appreciate the fact there’s lots of lessons to be learned and we will share the story once we’re allowed to, but at the current time we have to rely on the public statements we’re put on the FCL channel the local Co-ops are sharing.”

On the FCL social media sites, Facebook and X, the Saskatoon-based company explained in its latest post on Tuesday the steps it is taking to protect the release of sensitive customer information.

“We are aware of statements made online that data was allegedly copied from the FCL (information technology) environment and will allegedly be released. While it's possible these allegations are related to the cybersecurity incident we previously experienced, we are still investigating with assistance from third-party experts. If the investigation determines that data was in fact compromised, as previously stated, we will take appropriate action.

“It's important to note that while this incident has been contained, upon first discovering that we had experienced a cybersecurity incident, we temporarily took a number of our systems offline as a precaution.”

Co-op has been around since 1944. In 2015 it had a staff of 23,000.

This is the latest in a series of recent cyberattacks on B.C. businesses.

On April 28, London Drugs was forced to close its 79 stores for more than week and some sensitive information was leaked after it refused to pay ransomware demands sent to its Burnaby head office.

On May 13, the B.C. First Nations Health Authority’s computer system was also compromised and some personal employee information was breached.

On June 3, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth reported the B.C. government was investigating series of attacks that started April 10 and were tied to a foreign state. The attacks reached 22 government email boxes and contained sensitive information about 19 people.

On June 25 the Cowichan Valley School District had its computer system attacked and some of its systems and operations were affected, including internet services and its website.