Tag Archives: expiration dates

Breach Brief – Acer Computer

Acer-LogoComputer maker Acer announced that it has suffered a data breach of its U.S. commerce site. According to Acer anyone who has purchased a computer through the site in the past year may be at risk.

Customers that accessed the site between May 12, 2015 and April 28, 2016 may have had personal information compromised. This data includes mailing addresses, credit card numbers, expiration dates, and even the card’s CVV security codes. CVV codes are the digits on the back of cards next to the signature box.  On American Express Cards the CVV code is on the front. Acer has not said how many people are impacted by the breach.


CVV Numbers on major credit cards

A letter from Acer’s vice president of customer service Mark Groveunder said, “We do not collect Social Security numbers, and we have not identified evidence indicating that password or login credentials were affected.”  The PC and laptop maker has not said how the hack was carried out.

Grovenunder went on to say in the letter that Acer has employed an outside cyber security firm to investigate the breach and is cooperating with federal law enforcement and has also notified the affected payment card providers.

“If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, you have the right to file a police report. In addition, you may contact your State Attorney General’s office or the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself against identity theft,” said Groveunder in the letter.

Acer urges its customers to review their credit card account statements for any suspicious activity.

“We value the trust you place in us. We regret this incident occurred, and we will be working hard to enhance our security,” said Groveunder.


Breach Brief – Hyatt Hotels

HyattJust in time for your holiday travel Hyatt Hotels Corporation reported Wednesday that it has suffered a data breach. The hotel chain stated that its payment processing system was infected with credit card stealing malware in an attack discovered three weeks ago. Hyatt Hotels operates 627 hotels in more than 50 countries.

Details about the breach are scarce. Hyatt has not said how many of its locations were affected, how customer data might be compromised or how many customers may be affected. The company did however reveal that it “recently identified malware on computers that operate the payment processing systems for Hyatt-managed locations.”

A story published on Yahoo news by Reuters News Service stated that representatives in the call center set up by Hyatt said the malware was programmed to collect payment cardholder names, card numbers, expiration dates and internal verification codes.

Hyatt Corporation has created a dedicated webpage where it will post updates from the investigation at hyatt.com/protectingourcustomers. Customers in the U.S. and Canada can contact Hyatt with questions at 1-877-218-3036.  Customers from outside the U.S. and Canada should call +1-814-201-3665.

Hyatt is among a growing list of other hotel chains having a data breach in the past year, including Hilton, Starwood, Mandarin Oriental, White Lodging and the Trump Collection.


App of the Week – USDA FoodKeeper

foodkeeper-logoIf you don’t know by now most expiration dates on food is inaccurate and misleads you into spending more money by throwing out perfectly good food. That’s why USDA FoodKeeper is the App of the Week.

The USDA has decided to do something about this problem by making it easier to research the real expiration date for food. The government FoodKeeper app allows you research food expiration dates based on how they’re stored not who sold it to you. The food item can be researched directly or you can check general categories. The app also gives you general cooking information and send you reminders when food goes bad.

For many people this app can save big money at the grocery store. The Natural Resources Defense Council issued a report saying that Americans are prematurely throwing out food, largely because of confusion over what expiration dates actually mean.

Experts suggest consumers need to re-educate themselves to exactly what food dating mean by understanding the definitions. Here is what you need to know.

  • Use by and Best by – These dates are intended for consumer. They are typically the date the manufacturer deems the product reaches peak freshness. It’s not a date to indicate spoilage, nor does it necessarily signal that the food is no longer safe to eat.
  • Sell by –This date was never intended to be used by the consumer. It is only intended to help manufacturers and retailers. It’s a stocking and marketing tool provided by food makers to ensure proper turnover of the products in the store so they still have a long shelf life after consumers buy them. Consumers, however, are misinterpreting it as a date to guide their buying decisions. The report authors say that “sell by” dates should be made invisible to the consumer.

Many consumers believe expiration dates on food indicate how safe the food is to consume. That’s not true. The dates found on packages aren’t actually related to the risk of food poisoning or foodborne illness.

According research words like “use by” and “sell by” are used so inconsistently that they contribute to widespread misinterpretation, and waste, by consumers. Ninety percent of Americans throw out food prematurely and 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is thrown out every year because of food dating. Food dating was never about public health.

Currently there is no federal regulation that governs food dating except for infant baby formula because its nutrients lose their potency over time. Although, technically, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture  do have regulatory power over the mis-branding of products.

FoodKeeper is available for Apple and Android devices.