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 7 months after the disclosure of the data breach at Lush Cosmetics Ltd the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has delivered its findings and has imposed its actions against Lush.

The ICO has announced:- 

Cosmetics retailer Lush breached the Data Protection Act after the security of its website was compromised for a four month period, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today. The breach, which occurred between October 2010 and January 2011, meant that hackers were able to access the payment details of 5,000 customers who had previously hopped on the company’s website.

As a result of the breach, the ICO has required Lush to sign an undertaking to ensure that future customer credit card data will be processed in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. The ICO is taking this opportunity to warn online retailers that if they do not adopt this standard, or provide equivalent protection when processing customers’ credit card details, they risk enforcement action from the ICO.

Lush discovered the security lapse in January 2011 after receiving complaints from 95 customers who had been the victim of card fraud. After making enquiries, Lush found out that their website had been subject to a hacking incident which had allowed hackers to access their customers’ payment details. On uncovering the incident, the security of Lush’s website was immediately restored.

The ICO’s investigation found that, although the company had measures in place to keep customers’ payment details secure, they were not sufficient to prevent a determined attack on their website. The retailer’s methods of recording suspicious activity on their website were also insufficient, which delayed the time it took them to identify the security breach.

Acting Head of Enforcement, Sally Anne Poole said: “With over 31 million people having shopped online last year, retailers must recognise the value of the information they hold and that their websites are a potential target for criminals.

“Lush took some steps to protect their customers’ data but failed to do regular security checks and did not fully meet industry standards relating to card payment security. Had they done this, it may have prevented the fraud taking place and could have saved the victims a great deal of worry and time invested in claiming their money back. This breach should serve as a warning to all retailers that online security must be taken seriously and that the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or an equivalent must be followed at all times.”

Mark Constantine, Managing Director of Lush Cosmetics Ltd, has signed an undertaking committing the retailer to taking necessary steps, including that the company only stores the minimum amount of payment data necessary to receive payments, and that this information will not be kept for longer than is necessary. All future payments will also be managed by an external provider compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and the retailer will also make sure that appropriate technical and organisational measures are employed and maintained.

It is understood that Lush now uses Netittude to do penetration testing, Trustwave to secure its payments system, and RBS Worldpay to process transactions.

Related articles:-

25/2/2011 Lush once again trading

15/2/2011 Lush confirm their Australian Website has been hacked