A recent payment data breach at fast casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is a reminder of the importance of a comprehensive and effective approach to keeping payment data safe. The restaurant group also had to deal with reporting the breach shortly after it released better-than-expected figures related to a number of important financial and growth considerations, CNBC reported. That unfortunate timing drew attention away from positive gains and toward the break in security protocol.
The details of the breach
Chipotle, which operates all of its restaurants directly as opposed to through franchise agreement, officially announced the breach on April 25. A message on Chipotle's website said the Mexican food chain already investigated the incident with the help of three other groups: law enforcement, cybersecurity firms and its payment processor. In addition, the restaurant group stated a belief that it had successfully stopped any further malicious activity and, additionally, increased its security measures to stop similar events from happening in the future.
The breach was recent and lasted for several weeks. According to Chipotle, its ongoing investigation is focused on card payments made at its restaurants from March 24 through April 18. It declined to share further details due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, and pointed out the ability of customers to notify card issuers of unauthorized use and the general lack of consumer liability for such transactions.
While it's too early to know how many customers were affected, which stores were involved or the monetary cost of the breach, the details provided already paint a picture of the nature of the attack. Sensitive credit and debit card information was taken from at least one, if not more, stores in the chain over a period of about three weeks and potentially used by cybercriminals to make illegitimate purchases and other malfeasant purposes.
Businesses should use breaches at major retailers as a learning opportunity as well as reminder to check up on the state of their security protocols related to payment processing. While it's practically impossible to achieve a completely and absolutely safe payment system, there are many potential improvements that can significantly improve overall security. Everything from complying with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard to working with an established and secure provider of credit card processing software can make a big difference.
Security needs to be a constant priority for business owners. Want to learn more about the value of payment security? Reach out to the experts at Cloud 9 today.