Just over a month after first disclosing a data breach, Chipotle Mexican Grill released the results of an internal investigation, which revealed malicious actors stole data from customers across the majority of its 2,250 restaurants in 47 states.

A Major Data Breach, With a Side of Guacamole

Cybercriminals targeted consumers over a three-week period, Reuters reported, using malware at its point-of-sale (POS) systems. The data breach allowed attackers to buy items online, clone credit cards or steal money from accounts linked to debit cards. Chipotle said the malware has since been removed.

Dark Reading explained cybercriminals looked for track data, such as a credit card expiration number, the victim’s name or the card’s verification code to steal information. The malware honed in on the magnetic strip of the card as it went through the POS system.

While the extent of the Chipotle attack is unfortunate, it serves as a good reminder that endpoint security — regardless of the type of endpoint — is an important part of any defense-in-depth strategy. While we typically think of cybercriminals focusing on government secrets or highly classified data, even everyday consumer financial information is a valuable target.

Endpoint Calamity?

POS attacks are nothing new, of course, and eWeek published an analysis of the Chipotle incident that concluded more retailers will likely experience similar problems if endpoints aren’t patched on a regular basis. Zero-day attacks on POS systems may be difficult to mitigate, but regular monitoring can ensure administrative credentials aren’t compromised or that malware is contained before it does much damage.

The fact that card-scraping malware can be readily obtained by the fraudster community also increases the likelihood that Chipotle will not be the last to suffer a POS-related data breach, Bank Info Security explained. Besides restaurants, hotels can be a popular target, as well as smaller retailers that don’t have dedicated IT security resources.

Chipotle published a security advisory, which helps consumers figure out if the data breach affected a location near them. It also provided credit-monitoring services to those potentially impacted. Beyond companies patching and upgrading endpoints like POS systems, having consumers keep a close eye on all their card transactions may be the only way to ensure they don’t become victims of fraud or theft.

More from

New Attack Targets Online Customer Service Channels

An unknown attacker group is targeting customer service agents at gambling and gaming companies with a new malware effort. Known as IceBreaker, the code is capable of stealing passwords and cookies, exfiltrating files, taking screenshots and running custom VBS scripts. While these are fairly standard functions, what sets IceBreaker apart is its infection vector. Malicious actors are leveraging the helpful nature of customer service agents to deliver their payload and drive the infection process. Here’s a look at how IceBreaker…

Operational Technology: The evolving threats that might shift regulatory policy

Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your favorite audio content. Attacks on Operational Technology (OT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) grabbed the headlines more often in 2022 — a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparking a growing willingness on behalf of criminals to target the ICS of critical infrastructure. Conversations about what could happen if these kinds of systems were compromised were once relegated to “what ifs” and disaster movie scripts. But those days are…

Cybersecurity 101: What is Attack Surface Management?

There were over 4,100 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2022, exposing about 22 billion records. Criminals can use stolen data for identity theft, financial fraud or to launch ransomware attacks. While these threats loom large on the horizon, attack surface management (ASM) seeks to combat them. ASM is a cybersecurity approach that continuously monitors an organization’s IT infrastructure to identify and remediate potential points of attack. Here’s how it can give your organization an edge. Understanding Attack Surface Management Here…

Six Ways to Secure Your Organization on a Smaller Budget

My LinkedIn feed has been filled with connections announcing they have been laid off and are looking for work. While it seems that no industry has been spared from uncertainty, my feed suggests tech has been hit the hardest. Headlines confirm my anecdotal experience. Many companies must now protect their systems from more sophisticated threats with fewer resources — both human and technical. Cobalt’s 2022 The State of Pentesting Report found that 90% of short-staffed teams are struggling to monitor…