Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security //

Data Leakage

5/15/2018
09:35 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

Chili's Investigating Data Breach After Malware Infects PoS Machines

Chili's is investigating a data breach that started when the restaurant chain's point-of-sale machines were infected with malware. It's not clear what customer data was taken or how much.

Customers of Chili's restaurants are suffering through some indigestion this week after the chain's parent company announced that some of its point-of-sale machines were hit with an unknown malware that stole payment data.

Brinker International -- the parent company of Chili's -- released a statement to notify customers of the data breach and that the chain is investigating the incident. Law enforcement is also involved.

Right now, it's not clear how much customer data was taken, although the company noted that the breach appears to have happened between March and April of this year. Chili's was notified of the incident on May 11 and issued its public statement shortly after that.

(Source: Flickr)
(Source: Flickr)

Like any restaurant, Chili's does not collect sensitive customer data such as social security numbers or full date of birth. It does, however, collect credit card and payment information from customers and this appears to be what the malware scraped from the PoS machines.

In its statement, Brinker noted:

Based on the details of the issue currently uncovered, we believe that malware was used to gather payment card information including credit or debit card numbers as well as cardholder names from our payment-related systems for in-restaurant purchases at certain Chili's restaurants. Currently, we believe the data incident was limited to between March -- April 2018; however, we continue to assess the scope of the incident.

Chris Roberts, chief security architect at Acalvio, a Santa Clara-based firm that provides advanced threat detection and defense solutions, noted in an email to Security Now that Brinker and Chili's did right by customers to notify the public about the breach instead of delaying the announcement.

However, what happened at the restaurants show how poorly protected PoS machines, and the data they process, are in these type of public spaces.

"Frankly, it's still too easy to gain access to PoS systems in restaurants," Roberts wrote. "High traffic areas and hidden behind the scene areas are riddled with the very systems that retain our information and many restaurants still leave them open, have defaults in place, or worse, still have the login information sitting close by. Access to a PoS and their ability to repel malware is still not where it needs to be. It's too easy to tamper with them, root them or attack them in many other ways. Patching, defaults and other issues are still rife."

At the same time, the malware infecting PoS machines is getting more sophisticated. In February, researchers at Forcepoint found a new strain that hides its activities by mimicking traffic generated by a legitimate remote login service. (See Forcepoint Finds New Malware Hiding in PoS Machines.)

Despite this most recent headline, the number of data breach between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of this year actually fell by about 50%, according to research released by Risk Based Security earlier this month. (See Number of Data Breach Reports Fell More Than 50% in Q1 Study.)

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Concerns over supply chain vulnerabilities and attack visibility drove some significant changes in enterprise cybersecurity strategies over the past year. Dark Reading's 2021 Strategic Security Survey showed that many organizations are staying the course regarding the use of a mix of attack prevention and threat detection technologies and practices for dealing with cyber threats.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-16060
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-15
Mitsubishi Electric SmartRTU devices allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information (directory listing and source code) via a direct request to the /web URI.
CVE-2018-16061
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-15
Mitsubishi Electric SmartRTU devices allow XSS via the username parameter or PATH_INFO to login.php.
CVE-2021-27561
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-15
Yealink Device Management (DM) 3.6.0.20 allows command injection as root via the /sm/api/v1/firewall/zone/services URI, without authentication.
CVE-2020-4951
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-15
IBM Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 and 11.2.0 contains locally cached browser data, that could allow a local attacker to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-28021
PUBLISHED: 2021-10-15
Buffer overflow vulnerability in function stbi__extend_receive in stb_image.h in stb 2.26 via a crafted JPEG file.