Huddle House, an Atlanta-based restaurant chain with over 300 locations across the United States, has become the latest restaurant chain to suffer a Point-of-Sale (POS) data breach.

The company informed customers on Friday last week that a malware intrusion had affected an unspecified number of its “corporate and franchised locations.” The company learned of the breach after being notified by law enforcement and its credit card processor that some of its restaurants may have been hit by a cyber-attack.

In a statement published last week, the company claims, “Criminals compromised a third-party POS vendor’s data system and utilized the vendor’s assistance tools to gain remote access — and the ability to deploy malware — to some Huddle House corporate and franchisee POS systems.”

The company took swift action to get the malware contained by opening and IT investigation and hiring a security firm to “deploy specialized software to prevent further attacks.” The investigation is ongoing and has yet to determine the list of affected location, but the company has issued a warning to anyone who used a payment card at one of its locations between August 1, 2017 and present to keep a close eye on their credit card transactions.

Huddle House claims it has implemented additional security measures to reduce the risk of further attacks while the company continues to investigate the incident.

The malware deployed in this attack is a classic POS-scraping code intended to collect magnetic stripe data such as names, card numbers, expiration date, and verification value, and service code.

These kinds of attacks have become less popular today thanks to the adoption of the EMV standard across the United States, but hackers still try their luck since EMV adoption is not effective if improperly implemented by stores and restaurants.

File Integrity Monitoring and Device Hardening for POS systems couple have helped mitigate this security incident. Implementing a hardened build standard with precision change detection (the PCI DSS recommends using the CIS Benchmarks as the best hardening standard to adopt) and this coupled with breach detection technology (FIM-based Host Intrusion Detection system or HIDS) would ensure that even if a breach was successful, they would have been alerted to it immediately so that action can be taken before card data is compromised.

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