AeroGrow discloses data breach, card skimming malware blamed

The malware remained undetected for at least four months.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

AeroGrow has disclosed a data breach in which the payment card data of customers was siphoned away for at least four months.

In a letter sent to customers (.PDF), the US seller of indoor gardening systems and kits said the security incident was discovered on March 4, 2019.

Malicious code which skimmed and stole information submitted by customers purchasing products through the AeroGrow website was found and removed, but it is believed the code was likely active between October 29, 2018, and March 4, 2019.

The malware had been implanted in the vendor's payment processing page. Payment card numbers, expiration dates, security codes, and the personal data of customers required to verify and process a payment may have been stolen.

It is not known how many customers have been affected.

"Upon learning of the incident, we immediately removed the malicious code and secured the website," AeroGrow says. "We have informed law enforcement and will cooperate with their investigation."

CNET: AI experts want Amazon to stop selling facial recognition tech to police

The company has also secured the help of a third-party cybersecurity firm to audit the AeroGrow website's security.

AeroGrow has promised customers impacted by the malware that they will be offered a free year of credit monitoring.

"I want to sincerely apologize for this incident, and I regret any inconvenience it may have caused you," Grey Gibbs, AeroGrow's senior VP of Finance & Accounting said. "I want to assure you that we take this criminal act very seriously and have addressed it thoroughly."

See also: TrickBot Trojan seeks out weak human links in business to profit from the tax season

This is not the first time AeroGrow has become the victim of information stealing malware. In June 2015, the vendor reported another security incident (.PDF) in which malware was found on servers leading to the potential theft of credit card data, names, and physical addresses.

TechRepublic: How to protect your business from tax fraud

Business is booming for e-commerce, and so card skimming malware has become a common attack vector for cybercriminals seeking to cash in on the move from brick-and-mortar to digital storefronts.

Magecart is a well-known hacking group which has been tied to the prolific use of card-skimmers. The group has been held responsible for attacks against organizations including British Airways, OXO, Newegg, Ticketmaster, and Feedify.

These are the worst hacks, cyberattacks, and data breaches of 2018

Previous and related coverage

Editorial standards