German Department Store Group KaDeWe Attacked by Russian Hackers

PARIS — German department store group KaDeWe fended off a cyber attack from Russian hacker collective Play, the Berlin-based department store said Tuesday.

It implemented emergency measures by taking some operations offline, but emphasized that credit card payment systems remained secure through the overnight attack on Nov. 2. The group said it is working with the German cybercrime authorities to determine the scope of the attack.

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KaDeWe Group operates three luxury department stores in Germany, including KaDeWe in Berlin, Alsterhaus in Hamburg and Oberpollinger in Munich.

The group said the attack had been effectively contained thanks to security measures already in place. However, it is still working to determine if customer information systems have been breached.

“With the support of specialized forensic experts, we are working at full speed to obtain a complete picture of the scope of the attack,” the company said in a statement. “Not least for investigative reasons, we are not yet able to say whether and to what extent data has been stolen within the affected area.”

However, customer passwords were “not within the attackers’ reach,” it added.

Hacker group Play emerged in 2022 with a series of ransomware attacks targeting companies and governmental institutions including judiciary targets in Argentina and the government administration in Switzerland. It has also attacked private companies.

The group said it has implemented additional precautionary measures until a stable IT infrastructure is fully restored.

The attack comes at a transitional time for KaDeWe Group.

Former chief executive officer André Maeder left the company Oct. 31 for London-based luxury department store group Selfridges. He was succeeded by former chief financial officer Michael Peterseim, who stepped into the top spot Nov. 1.

Austrian property developer Signa, which owns a minority stake in KaDeWe, is on the verge of collapse due to the recent spike in interest rates and declining real estate values. Founder René Benko has been removed as company chairman.

On Monday, KaDeWe Group issued a statement noting it is not financially dependent on Signa and will continue operations as usual. It is backed by majority shareholder Central Group of Thailand.

The group is developing additional department stores, with Carsch-Haus in Düsseldorf and Lamarr in Vienna scheduled to open in spring 2025.

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