Has Dairy Queen had a security breach?

Several security firms have recently reported incidents of fraud on credit cards that were used at Dairy Queen stores across the nation. Dairy Queen says it has experienced no signs of a security breach. However, the business model consists of 4,500 independently run franchises that are under no obligation to report vulnerable data or security incidents to the mother company. Because of this lack of transparency, it is difficult to tell for sure whether or not stores have been compromised. 

Dean Peters, director of communication at Dairy Queen, confirms, "At this time, there is no such policy. We would assist them if [any franchisees] reached out to us about a breach, but so far we have not heard from any of our franchisees that they have had any kind of breach." 

Consumers are now clamoring for more stringent security policies at chain stores. Many small franchises do not believe they are likely to become a target for fraud, but for a big organization like Dairy Queen it is necessary to monitor all locations closely. UPS has a similar franchise structure as Dairy Queen, but was still able to alert consumers to the possible theft of card information and explicitly list which stores may have been affected. 

This differing approach post-breach has proved beneficial for UPS, while Dairy Queen's approach may well have a negative effect, since it has yet to admit that any breach occurred at all. Regardless of how independently each Dairy Queen location is owned and operated, the stores still reflect on the entire brand image, and customer card information getting out could work against all of them. So employees should be sure to create long and complex passwords for use when accessing the credit card payment software that keeps track of sensitive information. 

A lack of security can lead even loyal consumers to question a business's methods of operation. KrebsonSecurity reports that cyber-crooks are now indexing card information based on state, and selling the counterfeit cards online. Therefore, t would be helpful for Dairy Queen consumers to know sooner rather than later whether their accounts are in danger. 

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