Wendy’s, the famous fast food chain from Dublin, Ohio, originally announced in January that it was investigating a potential hack resulting in a breach of customers’ credit and debit card information. In May, Wendy’s company leaders stated that less than 300 restaurants were affected by the infiltration. However, this past week, Wendy's officials announced over 1,000 restaurants nationwide were subject to this theft.
With over 5,700 restaurants in the United States, it is safe to say that
if you have visited a Wendy’s in the past year and used a credit or debit card it would be wise to check your accounts to make sure no fraudulent purchases were made. To see which Wendy’s locations were affected, check their website here. Wendy’s has stated it will offer free credit monitoring for one year for those who used a card at any of those restaurants.
"We are committed to protecting our customers and keeping them informed. We sincerely apologize to anyone who has been inconvenienced as a result of these highly sophisticated, criminal cyber attacks involving some Wendy's restaurants," said Todd Penegor, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "We have conducted a rigorous investigation to understand what has occurred and apply those learnings to further strengthen our data security measures."
How Did This Occur?
The variant of malware that caused the breach occurred due to Wendy's service providers’ access credentials being compromised. This allowed criminals access to the
point-of-sale system at many locations. When this access was gained by the criminals, they were allowed to place a string of malware capable of removing customers’ personal card numbers.
The scariest thing is that most companies could not have prevented this type of attack. Without Deception Technology and advanced forensic collection there would be no way to know that these attackers were on the network with trusted credentials.
What Can Consumers Do to Prevent This?
Free credit monitoring is available from companies like Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, and WalletHub. These sites offer credit scores, credit reports, and most important to this discussion, 24/7 monitoring. When abnormalities in spending occur, you will be notified.
Sadly, there is not much more you can do to completely stop a hack like this, other than not using credit and debit cards altogether. I know, I know, this sounds like torture to
some; we are all enamored with the bonus points, free miles, cheaper hotel rooms and other perks of credit cards as well as the ease of not carrying cash around. But the potential of having your accounts hijacked really should cause some pause when using such cards.
The key to it all is this - if you are going to use your cards, make sure you are checking your accounts frequently to make sure no fraudulent purchase are being made.