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Dear Brands: Data Breaches Are Not Fun—And Here’s the Latest Problem to Prove It

A possible Landry’s data breach is a reminder for brands to make sure they take every possible measure when it comes to customer card security.

Landry’s has kicked off the new year—with a possible data breach, according to a Nation’s Restaurant News report

The multi-brand corporation, which owns franchises such as Bubba Gump and Joe’s Crab Shack, announced on Tuesday that customer card information from last year may have been compromised, serving as a stark reminder for brands to bring their security A-game in 2020. 

“Years ago (beginning in 2016), Landry’s installed a payment processing solution that uses end-to-end encryption technology at all Landry’s owned locations,” the company said in a statement. “We are notifying customers of an incident that we recently identified and addressed involving payment cards that, in rare circumstances, appear to have been mistakenly swiped by waitstaff on devices used to enter kitchen and bar orders, which are different devices than the point-of-sale terminals used for payment processing.”

Bottom line: The wrong device, one lacking in the appropriate security measures, was used to process some card transactions. In terms of timeframe, cards were mistakenly swiped between March 13 and Oct. 17 of last year, with the issue occurring as early as Jan. 18 of last year at “a small number of locations,” according to the statement provided by Landry’s. 

As more and more consumers turn to online, well, everything, and use cards to make all kinds of payments and be less likely to carry cash, brands will need to pull double duty in order to make sure customer information is as secure as it can be. This very much applies to franchises with brick and mortar locations, as customer security breaches can happen in-store, at the local level, with one’s regular face-to-face customers. Staying on top of cybersecurity is no easy feat, as hackers and other forms of online thieves are always finding ways to beat the system, but it is important. Landry’s said they have taken action to improve their security measures, but, in the meantime, a quick look at your credit card activity—not to mention an old-fashioned phone call to your financial institution—probably wouldn’t hurt.