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Study: Many Retailers Vulnerable to Hacking

BY CSA STAFF

New York, It was reported Thursday that half of more than 3,000 retail stores that a wireless security company secretly monitored at major shopping areas in the United States and Europe use wireless data systems vulnerable to hacking.

AirDefense Inc., an Atlanta-based maker of security products for wireless data systems, found that about 25% of the stores’ 4,748 wireless access points were exchanging data with no encryption at all to foil electronic eavesdroppers.

Another 25% were using an outdated encryption method called Wireless Equivalent Privacy that is easily cracked by thieves using widely available tools.

The remaining half of the access points—the connections between wireless devices and computer networks—were using newer encryption methods that are considered much harder to crack.

The six-week undercover project—conducted at shopping areas in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, London and Paris—attempted to expose security holes in wireless networks that are increasingly used to transmit data inside stores.

Wireless systems are believed to have been the entry points for recent large-scale data thefts at retailers, including a massive heist at discount retailer TJX Cos.

AirDefense privately notified retailers when it found major security flaws. It is not disclosing the names of individual retailers to avoid drawing hackers’ attention.

Representatives for the National Retail Federation and credit-card associations Visa and MasterCard declined comment.

A spokesman for the credit-card industry organization that sets payment-security standards said wireless safeguards are key.

“We are working closely with retailers to identify and mitigate issues related to wireless technologies in payment environments and evolve the security of this technology,” said Bob Russo, general manager of the PCI Security Standards Council.

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Wesson to lead A&P wine overhaul, company buys Best Cellars

BY CSA STAFF

MONTVALE, N.J. A&P today announced that it has bought Best Cellars, a New York City-based retailer renowned for merchandising “Great Wines for Everyday” by flavor rather than by origin, and at reasonable prices. A&P said co-founder Joshua Wesson, who created and operated the Best Cellars concept in five retail locations, will join the A&P management team as senior director of beer, wine and spirits.

Reporting to Rebecca Philbert, A&P senior vp of merchandising, supply and logistics, Wesson will help lead the transformation of A&P’s freestanding and in-store beer, wine and spirits operations, incorporating key elements of Best Cellars’ innovative marketing approach. Under the terms of the transaction, the purchase price, which is not expected to be material, will be based upon the growth of A&P’s beer, wine and spirits business going forward, to be calculated and paid after four years.

With the purchase of Best Cellars, A&P recognizes the growing popularity of wine and its connection with food. “This strong presence in and around our food markets presents a tremendous opportunity to parlay the food and wine connection in a truly synergistic way – creating both value and enjoyment for our customers, and a profitable marketing proposition for A&P,” said Philbert, adding that the first example of A&P’s new prototype beer, wine and spirits concept will debut in January in Westwood, N.J. 

A&P currently operates 19 freestanding wine and liquor stores, as well as 12 in-store departments across its retail operations in the greater New York/New Jersey, Connecticut and mid-Atlantic markets.

Commenting on his new association with A&P, Wesson said, “I’m tremendously excited about the opportunities we have in merging the Best Cellars concept into A&P. By merchandising beer, wine and spirits together with food, and in a multitude of ways that both educate and entertain customers, is too delicious to pass up. I’ve always believed that the future of beverage and alcohol is at the dinner table with food. Now, we’ll have a chance to prove it.”

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Office Depot enhances color printing service

BY CSA STAFF

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. Office Depot today announced that is offering advanced color printing solutions at its retail stores nationwide. According to Office Depot, this initiative builds upon the “Xerox Certified Print Specialist” program that the company rolled out earlier this year.

Office Depot said it has updated its fleet of Xerox color copiers, multifunction devices and production grade printers, which can produce images up to 2400 dpi.

“The proper use of color is very important in order to stand out in today’s business world,” said Randy Pianin, senior vp of Office Depot’s Design, Print & Ship Depot. “By incorporating color elements into a business proposal or presentation, a company will have a much better chance of grabbing the audience’s attention and closing the deal. Office Depot’s ‘Xerox Certified Print Specialists’ are trained to help business professionals recognize and take advantage of these opportunities.”

Office Depot’s Design, Print & Ship Depot offers copy and print, large format printing, design and custom imprinting services.

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