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Canadian Tire Store Stalls When Every Item Scans as Mr. Potato Head

You want a set of new whitewalls? That'll come up as four Mr. Potato Heads.

This was the experience of customers at five Canadian Tire stores in Ontario this week. Every time an employee scanned a product--any product in the store--the computers said it was a Mr. Potato Head toy. My Kawartha reports:

Five stores in Lindsay and Whitby were impacted in the bizarre computer system fritz that started around 7 a.m. Monday (June 29). A staff member from Lindsay Canadian Tire who wished to remain anonymous said any item the team scanned showed the same product number and information as the popular toy.
Cathy Kurzbock, manager of external communications for the Canadian Tire Corporation, clarified the glitch only made the names of products appear the same, not the prices or the item numbers. She said the anomaly didn't effect stores outside of Lindsay or Whitby. 

-via Dave Barry | Photo: Google Maps


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Along similar cheeky lines, I could easily see it being used as a default value during test, and the test settings were accidentally used in production. Sure, it could be a hacker. My comment is that we shouldn't immediately jump to that conclusion and consequently believe that Canadian Tire is hiding things when it could easily be a sloppy or goofy mistake. Personally, I think having it come up as "hacksaw" would be more grey hat.
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But "all items scanning as mr potato head" (but working otherwise) is a little too much "exactly what a cheeky white(grey?) hat might do to draw your attention to how flawed your security is". Yes mistakes also happen, but are rather more likely to result in things all claiming to be some oil filter or car footwell mat. And it is in the vested interest of companies to never admit to hacks unless they have to (customer facing data). Could be an error, but smells like a fish (hackerfish?)
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Internal developers make goofy mistakes sometimes. Years ago, a co-worker worked for the Chicago E-911 system. They did a database update which ended routing all calls to one location, rather than the nearest one. Read enough RISKS Digest and you'll see that fat-fingered coding isn't so uncommon that one should immediately assume hacking.
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