Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, warned: “It may be turning into a serious problem. I think customers shrug off website problems that last a few hours, as par for the course – but outages lasting a day or more are embarrassing and unhelpful.”
Clive Black, an analyst at stock broker Shore Capital estimated that Tesco was losing roughly £20m a day in lost online sales. “It will be a real hassle and worry for all involved until firm control and so forth is re-established,” he said. “It will not enhance Tesco’s reputation but at the same time attacks are part of everyday life and a new industry.”
The UK’s biggest grocer has previously been targeted by hackers. In 2014, the data of more than 2,000 shoppers was posted online. In 2016, hackers stole £2.3m from Tesco Bank customers.
This time around, reports emerged of Tesco customers being delivered large quantities of the same grocery product – toilet rolls, dishwasher tablets or cans of soft drink – due to a popular strategy used by customers to secure slots on Tesco’s online booking system.
Customers often place dummy orders in advance, because they can update their basket up to the night before delivery. However, over the weekend many found themselves stuck with their original orders. Rebecca, from North Wales, received 120 cans of a soft drink yesterday. “We were meant to get a week’s shop this morning,” she told the BBC.
Nadia Kadhim, chief executive of Naq Cyber, said: “Data is a commodity that is extremely valuable to companies and criminals, and should be treated with vigilance. All companies need to realise that they’ve been entrusted with a valuable good, and should be held responsible and accountable for failing to protect that good adequately.”
Tesco said: “Our groceries website and app are back up and running. To help us manage the high volume we’re temporarily using a virtual waiting room. We’re really sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”