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Staples acquires Canadian promotional product firm from Golf Town

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. – Staples Inc. will acquire Accolade Promotion Group (APG), a distributor of promotional products in Canada. The acquisition will build on Staples' position as a distributor of promotional products in North America and will expand the breadth of offering for its customers.

Currently a division of Golf Town, APG is a full-scale promotional merchandise agency that designs and delivers items for a number of well-known brands. Upon closing, APG will become part of the Staples portfolio and Dan Craig, managing director APG will become the managing director of SPP Canada. Pam Westman, the current managing director of Staples Promotional Products (SPP) in Canada will lead the integration of the acquisition and spearhead global expansion for SPP.

Terms and conditions of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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Rite Aid names former Safeway executive as CIO

BY Dan Berthiaume

Camp Hill, Pa. – Steve Rempel, who spent 35 years in a variety of executive positions at Safeway, has been named Rite Aid’s senior VP and CIO. In this position, Rempel will have responsibility for all aspects of the company’s technology and information operations, including computer systems, network infrastructure, telecommunications and data security.

"Steve is an information technology expert with a proven track record in creating, driving and delivering value and results through innovative technology solutions," said Frank Vitrano, senior VP and chief administrative officer for Rite Aid. "His vast retail experience will be extremely valuable to Rite Aid as we continue to develop our technology and services platforms and strategies to further strengthen our business operations and enhance the experiences of our valued customers and associates."

Rempel will report to Frank Vitrano, Rite Aid’s senior executive VP and chief administrative officer. Before joining Rite Aid, Rempel served as CIO, president and CEO for Balance Innovations, a provider of reconciliation and cash management solutions for the retail industry.

Rempel began his career at Safeway Inc. During his 35 years at Safeway, Rempel held a variety of IT positions with increasing responsibility. Serving as the organization’s group VP of application development, he had enterprise-wide responsibility for all elements of the IT applications process, including design, development, procurement, development and support.

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Study: Retail breach exposure worsens

BY Dan Berthiaume

Mountain View, Calif. – It’s not just media hype – retailers’ exposure to data breaches really is getting worse. According to the 2015 Internet Threat Report from security technology provider Symantec, 11% of all data breaches Symantec recorded in 2014 hit retailers.

Only the healthcare industry represented a larger share of breaches. In addition, retailers provided a leading 59% of all identities revealed in breaches during 2014. Total breach incidents during the year rose 23% compared to 2013.

Symantec research also reveals that it took software companies an average of 59 days to create and roll out patches, up from only four days in 2013. There were 24 total “zero-day” vulnerabilities, or software security gaps that hackers exploited the same day they were discovered, tracked in 2014.

Additionally, Symantec observed attackers:

• Using stolen email accounts from one corporate victim to “spear-phish” other victims higher up the food chain;

• Taking advantage of companies’ management tools and procedures to move stolen IP around the corporate network before exfiltration;

• Building custom attack software inside the network of their victims to further disguise their activities.

In addition, “ransomware” attacks where hackers take over a victim’s computer and refuse to return control until they receive payment, rose 113% in 2014. Notably, there were 45 times more victims of crypto-ransomware attacks than in 2013. Instead of pretending to be law enforcement seeking a fine for stolen content, crypto-ransomware attack style holds a victim’s files, photos and other digital content hostage without masking the attacker’s intention.

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