The UK’s data watchdog is “making inquiries” after Carphone Warehouse admitted that personal details of up to 2.4 million of its customers may have been accessed in a cyber-attack.
The attack was discovered on Wednesday, and made public on Saturday.
The encrypted credit card details of up to 90,000 people may have been accessed, the mobile phone firm said.
The Information Commissioner’s Office, which examines data breaches, confirmed it was aware of the incident.
Carphone Warehouse says the data could include names, addresses, dates of birth and bank details and it is contacting all those affected.
Carphone Warehouse claims it was the victim of a “sophisticated” cyber-attack, which was stopped “straight away” after it was discovered on Wednesday.
The affected division of the company operates the websites OneStopPhoneShop.com, e2save.com and Mobiles.co.uk, and provides services to iD Mobile, TalkTalk Mobile, Talk Mobile and some Carphone Warehouse customers.
The retailer’s owner, Dixons Carphone, has apologised for the attack and said additional security measures have been brought in. It has also taken the affected websites down.
The Information Commissioner will work out if Carphone Warehouse had done enough to protect customer data from hackers.
A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said: “We have been made aware of an incident at Carphone Warehouse and are making enquiries.”
The Metropolitan Police said its Cyber Crime Unit had been notified of the breach by Carphone Warehouse but no formal allegation of a crime had been made.
The Met said it had not had any reports of fraudulent banking activity.
Despite sales only rising marginally in its last financial year, Dixons showed pre-tax profits of £133 million up to the end of April. That’s a rise of 53 percent compared to the pre-tax profits of £86.6 million in the year before.
The profit bump comes as it prepares to merge with Carphone Warehouse – it also showed significantly larger pre-tax profits for its financial year. The European Commission said yesterday that it had approved the merger.
Part of Dixons’ profitability comes down to the fact that it sold what it describes as “non core” units during the period. It also cut costs by £45 million in the period.
Sebastian James, Dixons’ Group’s CEO, said that the company is in “robust financial health”. He said he’s excited about the Carphone Warehuse merger.
An anticipated deal between Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse became reality today and is set to change the face of many high streets.
The deal, worth an estimated £3.5 billion, will mean the creation of a 50/50 owned entity which will be renamed Dixons Carphone.
Dixons has over 500 PC World and Currys stories in the British Isles, while Carphone Warehouse own over 2,000 stories across Europe.
Dixons said there would be some minor job cuts after the merger but Carphone Warehouse said there will be more jobs available.
Paul Heywood, director of Dyn in Europe thinks that customers are going to demand a good experience as a result of the merger. But he warned that the shops will have to work together fast to exploit the market, reduce costs and provide good customer support.
O2 has awarded Daisy Distribution its “partner of the year” award for 2013.
The company said that is beat off distributors Avenir and Carphone Warehouse to the front line. All three are O2 Centre of Excellence distributors.
Dave McGinn, MD at Daisy, said it won the award because of its low churn and rise in customer satisfaction.
“Although we continually perform strongly on computer acquisition, our goal for 2013 was to further improve our retention performance in order to strengthen our position as O2’s leading distribution partner,” he said.
O2’s Angie Simpson, said that the two companies had an “excellent working relationship in 2013 and our strategic alignment has helped forge a closer working relationship over the last 12 months”.
Carphone Warehouse is planning to expand its tablet offering this year, following strong demand in 2012. The company saw plenty of growth in tablets in the latter half of the year, hence it is planning to invest more and grow market share in tablets.
Carphone Warehouse said it will continue to develop the tablet category, both through standalone sales and handset/tablet bundles.
“The development of 4G services is expected to improve download speeds significantly and therefore to stimulate demand for tablets with connectivity to mobile networks as well as wi-fi services,” the company said. “We achieved increased relevance in the tablet market, in part through bundling with mobile phone connections. During the year, we have increased our market share across all our categories and further built our trusted brand. “
As one of the leading retailers in the ever growing mobile sector, Carphone Warehouse had a rather good year. In its annual financial report, the company revealed an 11.5 percent spike in generated revenues, although earnings rose just slightly.
Earlier this week the company also announced that it has enlisted Kate Moss to design a range of smartphone and tablet covers, as part of its new “fashion tech” line of accessories. Not exactly relevant, but it gives us a good excuse to use a gorgeous thumbnail.
Samsung’s Galaxy Young, an Android smartphone running Jelly Bean, will be available through retail channels and networks this weekend.
The Young is a 1Ghz device with a 3.2″ HVGA TFT display and a 3 megapixel camera. It will ship with the usual torrent of Samsung extras loaded into Jelly Bean including TouchWiz, Kies, Apps and Hub, but where the company wants to differentiate is with its integration with Dropbox.
Of course, there are other cloud services available, including Google Drive, and Dropbox is available to download for free from the Google Play store anyway.
The device comes with 4GB internal storage and will be available in different colours.
The mid-range smartphone is not exactly a flagship device but is more affordable for those who can’t justify splashing out on an S4. Samsung has said it will be available from a “number of networks and online retailers”, but the Carphone Warehouse and O2 are the ones it specifically mentions.
Argos is planning to launch a contract phone offer and go toe to toe with Tesco Mobile and Asda Mobile. The retail giant will trial its service by offering online contract deals and phones in more than 200 stores across the UK starting in April. If all goes well, a second trial of SIM-only phones will also launch, reports Mobile Today.
The move comes as sales of pre-paid phones continue to tumble and Argos faces more competition from Tesco Mobile, Asda Mobile, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u. If all goes well and contract sales prove sufficient, Argos plans to enter talks with carriers to set up its own MVNO later this year.
Argos is reportedly already hiring account managers for ‘Argos Mobile’, as that’s apparently the working name for its MVNO. Former Vodafone UK manager Ben Murr is apparently playing a major role the effort.
Analysts believe Argos could pull it off, as it already has a sizable customer base and might make inroads in the entry level and mid range market. In all likelihood, Argos will try to focus on value driven contract deals. There is room for high end gear, but Argos will probably go for the penny pinching crowd.