Bankruptcy and data breach of NCIX
|Industry||Online retail sales|
|Founded||April 28, 1996|
|Defunct||December 1, 2017|
|Headquarters||Richmond, British Columbia, Canada|
Netlink Computer Inc. (doing business as NCIX) was an online computer hardware and software retailer based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, founded in 1996 by Steve Wu (伍啟儀). It had retail outlets in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond and Langley, British Columbia, as well as Markham, Mississauga, Scarborough, Ontario and Ottawa, Ontario. At one point, NCIX had 3 shipping facilities, one in Richmond, British Columbia, another in Markham, Ontario, and one in Industry, California. By July 17, 2017, NCIX had closed the Mississauga, Toronto, and Ottawa retail locations. NCIX declared bankruptcy with the Supreme Court of British Columbia on December 1, 2017 and stopped processing orders.
As one of the few surviving PC retail chains in Canada, the company "invested heavily in large walk-in retail outlets...all of which were expensive to run", rather than further online sales assets to compete more effectively against Amazon and Newegg. Furthermore, the company prioritized "sales of individual computer parts over complete systems" at a time when consumers and “millennial gamers with relatively high disposable incomes” opted for built systems from trusted brands while "the number of hobbyists who want to build their own hardware is dwindling".
In July 2017, NCIX closed all their Ontario retail outlets in Ottawa, Mississauga, and Toronto and shortly after its Markham headquarters office.
In November 2017, NCIX closed their Vancouver, Burnaby, and Coquitlam stores. Canada Computers then announced that they had taken over the leases on these locations.
On November 30, 2017, the last retail store located in Lansdowne Mall, Richmond had been closed, with only their headquarters in Richmond left.
Server data breach
On August 1, 2018, a Craigslist ad “NCIX Database Servers - $1500 (Richmond BC)” was found by Travis Doering of Privacy Fly, indicating unerased servers and data from NCIX operations were available for sale containing user data dating back 15 years. Employee data (including Social Insurance Numbers) were also leaked. The data was obtained from an abandoned warehouse that NCIX used to store servers prior to their bankruptcy after the servers were sold to make up for the $150,000 rent fees owed to the owner of the warehouse. This prompted an investigation by the RCMP and Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia, and the police seized the servers. Despite this, the data on the servers had been sold and copied multiple times before the servers were seized. Software engineer Kipling Warner since sued NCIX and their auctioneer for failing to properly protect the information.
- "Information about Steve Wu". 21cbh.com. August 31, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
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- Chan, Kenneth (2017-12-04). "Vancouver-based NCIX files for bankruptcy after closing all stores". Daily Hive. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
- Doering, Travis. "NCIX DATABREACH". www.privacyfly.com. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- "RCMP investigates after servers of bankrupt NCIX allegedly offered for sale with data intact | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- "Proposed class action lawsuit claims data breach exposed personal information of 258,000 people | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
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