March 2 Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on
Wednesday that prescription history and other basic information
on a few thousand online U.S. pharmacy customers may have been
visible to other users during a four-day stretch last month due
to a coding mistake.
"We had a software coding error for a 72-hour period from
February 15 to 18 that affected a limited group of online
pharmacy customers," said company spokesman Dan Toporek. "We
moved quickly to fix the issue once it was discovered."
During that period two customers who logged in at the same
time may have been able to see information on the other,
including their name, address, date of birth and prescription
history, Toporek said. Users were not able to see social
security numbers, or full credit or debit card or health
insurance information, he said.
The error happened during the migration of servers and was
not a hack, Toporek said. Fewer than 5,000 users were
potentially affected, a small percentage of the number of people
who logged in during the 72-hour period, he said.
Wal-Mart does not disclose the size of its online pharmacy
business, but the retailer ranks as one of the largest
drugstores in the United States, with some $19 billion in annual
revenue, according to an estimate last year by Evercore ISI.
Wal-Mart is contacting potentially impacted customers
directly and is offering them identity protection services,
although it does not have "reason to believe the information was
inappropriately used by someone else," Toporek said.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Chicago; Editing by Matthew