The past year has been inundated with retail breaches including Target, Home Depot and most recently, Chick-fil-A. The Georgia-based fast food company investigated a credit card breach in early 2015, focusing on the point-of-sale (POS) network at some of its restaurants. The breach is thought to have occurred between December 2013 and September 2014. Brian Krebs, an Internet blogger who specializes in banking security, reported that one financial institution claimed that the common thread among approximately 9,000 of its affected customers were purchases at Chick-fil-A restaurants. So what can retailers learn from these types of attacks?
It is important to stress that security breaches of this nature can be caused by a variety of issues – newly discovered software flaws, lax security from a service provider, insider fraud, weak network security and countless other avenues. There is also the possibility that the data which had been compromised did not originate from Chick-fil-A at all. Theft can occur at numerous places along the payment chain. For example, it may be necessary to examine the bank where the electronic transactions were processed.
In one sense, it does not matter how the breach occurred. The fact that credit cards at a major corporation had once again been stolen highlights the threat that all quick serve restaurants and retailers of every size are facing from data thieves. Businesses interested in keeping their networks and data secure should start with simple security measures that can effectively mitigate the growing problem that hackers represent. While nothing is fool proof, the following suggestions could have prevented most (if not all) of the breaches that have garnered so much attention in the past 12 months: