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POS Breaches

As with any security failure in a restaurant, they can cost business owners the trust of their customers. Cybersecurity is no exception.

According to the latest IBM data breach report, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.26 million—up 6.4 percent from 2017. The average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information is $141.

Point-of-sale data breaches are a serious concern for businesses that can lead to a lack of trust from consumers and a crippled system that could cost a fortune to fix. We compiled a list that we’ll keep up-to-date with the latest POS data breaches to help restaurants and their consumers stay protected against past and current threats.

Dates Affected Company Details
2019 DoorDash In September the company announced that a breachwhich occurred on May 4 and affected users who created accounts before April 5, 2018—affected 4.9 million customers, delivery workers, and merchants who had information stolen by hackers including names, email and delivery addresses, order history, phone numbers, and passwords.
2019 Checkers’ and Rally’s Malware planted by hackers collected credit card information from systems at over 100 locations. Almost 15 percent of locations were compromised from software that was installed in September of 2018.
2019 Mudshark Brewing Company & Other Arizona restaurants An investigation of “suspicious activity” led to the uncovering of dozens of Arizona restaurants having data breaches that may have comprised customers personal information.
2018 Applebees in Ohio The breach only impacted restaurants within Ohio—not the entire Applebees network. Customers were experiencing credit card fraud and identity theft after visiting the restaurants.
November 3, 2017 to January 2, 2018 Darden Restaurants Darden was notified that their POS system may have been targeted in a cyber attack statewide. It is believed that the hackers accessed payment information of customers who went to the restaurant from November 3, 2017, to January 2, 2018.
2018 Dunkin’ Personal information from the coffee chain’s DD Perks rewards program was compromised in a data breach where third-parties obtained usernames and passwords through external companies’ security breaches. They then attempted to log into some of the DD Perks accounts.
May 2018 to March 2019 Earl Enterprise restaurants including Planet Hollywood, Buca di Beppo, & Earl of Sandwich Two million customer credit cards were stolen between May 2018 and March 2019 from over 100 restaurants belonging to Earl Enterprises. The restaurants, which include Planet Hollywood, Buca di Beppo, and Earl of Sandwich, had their POS terminals infected with malware, and the credit card numbers were on sale less than a month later.
2018 Marriott Starwood Hotels Hackers accessed their database and copied all of their customer information. Information that was taken included phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, reservation dates, and some payment card numbers and expiration dates.
2018 Panera Bread Panerabread.com leaked customer records in plaintext and Panera temporarily took its site down to resolve the bug.
2018 PDQ A hacker was able to gain unauthorized access to their computer systems and acquired the names, credit card information, expiration dates, and CVV of its customers.
2018 Zippy’s Restaurant The restaurant informed customers that there was a data breach involving its credit and debit card processing system. Information impacted includes the cardholder’s name, card number, expiration date, and security code. Customers that shopped online, through their corporate office fundraisers and caterers were not affected.
2017 Arby’s Malware was placed on payment processing systems inside certain corporate stores in 2017. The breach did not affect all restaurants and its scope is not currently known.
March 24, 2017 to April 18, 2017 Chipotle There was unauthorized activity detected on Chipotle’s network that supports in-restaurant payment processing. They believe that payment card transactions between March 24, 2017, and April 18, 2017, may have been affected.
2017 Huddle House Hackers used a third-party POS vendor system to access and deploy malware onto Huddle House’s POS systems. They do not know the extent of the breach but warn that customers’ credit card information could be at risk.
2017 Hyatt Hotels Hyatt discovered unauthorized access to its payment card information, including credit and debit card information, was stolen from the front desks of several of their properties. Information that was taken included card numbers, expiration dates, internal verification codes, and cardholder names.  
2017 InterContinental Hotels Group Malware was found on payment processing servers which were used at restaurants and bars in the hotel group. Stolen data included cardholder names, card numbers, expiration dates, and internal verification codes.
2017 Sabre Hospitality Solutions Sabre revealed that there was a breach that allowed hotel customer payment information to be compromised.
2017 Shoney’s Credit card companies have received alerts of fraud on customer cards that can be linked back to Shoney’s in 2017.
2017 Sonic Sonic learned of a data breach when their credit card processor informed them of unusual activity on their customer payment cards. A “fire sale” was discovered that included millions of stolen credit and debit card numbers on the Dark Web.
2017 Whole Foods Market Whole Foods discovered a breach of its payment system that most likely did not affect those who shopped at the company’s grocery stores. It was discovered that unauthorized access took place in locations with tap-rooms and full-service restaurants.
2016 Noodles & Company Customer credit card information was compromised due to malware found in their system. Compromised information includes cardholder names, card numbers, expiration dates, and CVVs.
2016 Wendy’s Wendy’s claims that a third-party service provider had access to it’s POS systems that were hacked. The malware breach was aimed at collecting credit and debit card information.
December 2013 The Briar Group This restaurant group with 10 restaurants throughout Boston experienced a data breach in December of 2013. Customers started noticing strange activity on their credit/debit card accounts. It was determined that the parent company of these restaurants experienced a system hack and credit card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes were taken.
2013 Zaxby’s The Southern-based fast-food chain had a computer system and POS breach due to malware and other suspicious files stored locally. The files were designed to collect and transmit credit and debit card information.

How to Prevent a POS Data Breach

To ensure that your restaurant doesn’t face a similar fate as the restaurants we listed above, we have five tips for preventing a POS data breach.

1. Be PCI-Compliant

Being PCI compliant means that the vendor complies with the security standard defined by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). PCI DSS is an information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes.

2. Actively Monitor Your POS Network

Keep a close eye on your POS network for strange traffic patterns you are able to detect changes in user activity, files, and unusual data transaction, etc. before cybercriminals steal your data for good.

3. Reduce Insider Threats

By organizing routine background checks on employees and creating a policy that outlines information security can help control who has access to data.

4. Use Strong Passwords

Don’t forget to change any default passwords that are set up by your POS company after installation. These passwords are typically not very secure and can pose a risk to your business. We recommend using complex passwords and unique account names.

5. Encrypt Your Data

Using a POS that enables data encryption is key to running a restaurant safe from cyber threats. Upserve POS provides restaurants with a best-in-class infrastructure that protects businesses and consumers from the dangers of a data breach. Learn more about our secure system and book a demo with our team today!

Learn how Upserve can protect you from a breach

Written by   |  
Holly Everett is a five-year restaurant industry veteran turned small business marketing specialist. After working at Seven Stars Bakery in Providence, Rhode Island throughout college, she entered the world of marketing where she led B2B marketing initiatives at companies focusing on growing small businesses. At Upserve, she integrates her passion for the restaurant industry and knowledge of the needs of small business owners to help make restaurants wildly successful.