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Local and federal authorities are investigating after a ransomware attack shut down Strack & Van Til checkout lanes, Indiana Grocery Group President Jeff Strack said. 

The cyberattack encrypted its point-of-sale and phone systems, seeking a ransom to get them working again.

Strack & Van Til said no customer information was taken or affected in any way as it does not keep any credit or debit card data on record in its system.

"Strack & Van Til does not store any customer or credit or debit information," Strack said. "Thusly, no personal information was compromised."

Strack & Van Til had about half its 21 stores temporarily closed on Tuesday during one of the busiest grocery shopping periods of the year because cashiers could not check customers out, and lines were long at other stores because so many lanes were closed. The Highland-based supermarket chain, the Region's largest grocer, had all its stores open on Thanksgiving Day, with limited lanes open at its Hobart store, which should be fixed by Friday, Strack said.

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"The situation began earlier yesterday morning when portions of our system were compromised by an outside infiltrator," Strack said Wednesday evening. "The primary target was our front-end/checkout system as well as our phone system at various locations."

The ransomware attack targeted only a ransom payment from the company and was not an effort to steal any consumer data, which the Highland-based supermarket chain does not have anywhere anyway, Strack said. The company has been working with the Highland Police Department and federal investigators.

"Working with authorities, we addressed the cybersecurity issue and have been restoring our system," Strack said.

He said customers have been supportive and understanding through the ordeal.

"This Thanksgiving season is a great reminder of how fortunate Strack & Van Til is for our wonderful customers and associates who have been supportive of us for over the past 80-plus years," he said.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.