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Walgreens Discloses Data Breach Related to Mobile App

Pharmacy store chain Walgreens has started informing some users of its mobile application that their personal and health-related information may have been seen by other customers.

The Walgreens mobile application allows users to shop, refill their prescriptions, get pill reminders, consult a doctor or pharmacist via a live chat feature, print photos in stores, obtain rewards, and store coupons. The app is used by tens of millions of individuals — the Android application has over 10 million installs and the iOS app has over 50 million.

A notification letter sent out by Walgreens to impacted customers informs them that one or more of their messages within the Walgreens mobile application may have been viewed by other users of the app due to an “error.” The letter was published on February 28 on the website of the California Attorney General.

“Our investigation determined that an internal application error allowed certain personal messages from Walgreens that are stored in a database to be viewable by other customers using the Walgreens mobile app. Once we learned of the incident, Walgreens promptly took steps to temporarily disable message viewing to prevent further disclosure and then implemented a technical correction that resolved the issue,” reads the letter signed by Rina Shah, VP of pharmacy operations at Walgreens.

According to Walgreens, some of the exposed messages contained information such as first and last name, prescription number and drug name, store number, and shipping address. The company says social security numbers, bank account information or other financial details were not exposed.

It’s unclear how many customers are affected, but Walgreens says this “limited health-related information” was only leaked for a small percentage of impacted users. The information was exposed between January 9 and January 15, 2020.

“Walgreens promptly took steps to disable the message viewing feature within the Walgreens mobile app to prevent further disclosure until a permanent correction was implemented to resolve the issue. Walgreens will conduct additional testing as appropriate for future changes to verify the change will not impact the privacy of customer data,” Shah wrote.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.