Panera Bread Fuels Ransomware Suspicions With Silence

The restaurant chain hasn't provided any information regarding what led to a widespread IT outage, and customers and employees are asking for answers.

The outside of a Panera Bread location
Source: Judith Collins via Alamy Stock Photo

Panera Bread customers and employees reported experiencing outages with the restaurant chain's ordering system, mobile apps, loyalty programs, and more on March 22.

Although the IT disruption slowed operations for a time, Panera Bread stores were able to remain open. Two weeks later, systems, websites, and customer service lines are back online.

Though some employees reportedly complained about the lack of transparency regarding the situation, Panera has not released any further information regarding the outage on its website. The company also did not respond to Dark Reading's request for comment.

Some customers, those with personal information linked to Panera loyalty accounts, are concerned about a data leak.

"My biggest concern hasn't been losing free drinks and a gift card balance, but personal data in a hack," a user with the handle "bartolish" wrote in the r/Panera subreddit.

Cybersecurity expert Sean Deuby, principal technologist, Semperis, said he wouldn't rule out ransomware as the cause of the Panera outages.

"While the details on the countrywide IT outage experienced by Panera Bread are coming in slowly, it wouldn't surprise me to find out they've been hit with a ransomware attack," Deuby said in a statement. "Hopefully, Panera store backup data offline and has a robust response and recovery plan in place to deal with this threat."

Keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats, newly discovered vulnerabilities, data breach information, and emerging trends. Delivered daily or weekly right to your email inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights