Security Experts:

Amazon's Whole Foods Investigating Payment Card Breach

Whole Foods Market, the supermarket chain acquired recently by Amazon for $13.7 billion, informed customers this week that it has launched an investigation after learning that some of its point-of-sale (PoS) systems may have been hacked.

The company has provided only few details as the investigation is ongoing. However, it said the incident appears to impact taprooms and full table-service restaurants located within some of its stores.

Whole Foods pointed out that these venues rely on different PoS systems than the store that houses them. The affected payment systems are also not connected to Amazon.com, the company said.Whole Foods hacked

Law enforcement has been notified and a cyber security firm has been called in to assist Whole Foods’ investigation. The supermarket chain has promised to provide additional information as it learns more about the incident.

“While most Whole Foods Market stores do not have these taprooms and restaurants, Whole Foods Market encourages its customers to closely monitor their payment card statements and report any unauthorized charges to the issuing bank,” the company told customers.

The company’s statement suggests that it learned of the data breach from an external source – it’s likely that payment card issuers noticed a pattern of fraudulent transactions involving cards used at Whole Foods Market locations.

“Companies face threats every day and breaches will occur. In a contested environment like this, segmenting the networks, like Whole Foods did with its unique restaurant and taproom environment, saves other parts of the business from also being breached,” said Michael Daly, CTO of Raytheon's cybersecurity businesses.

“Financial systems within the larger Whole Foods system were not affected. The climate and operations controls were not compromised protecting massive amounts of food and inventory. Whether the segmented approach was happenstance or not, there is a lesson to be taken from today’s breach,” Daly added.

Fast food restaurant chain Sonic Drive-In is also investigating a possible data breach. Millions of payment cards that may have come from the company’s systems were recently put up for sale on a cybercrime marketplace.

Related: Kmart Payment Systems Infected With Malware

Related: Hundreds of Arby's Restaurants Hit by Card Breach

Related: Chipotle Investigating Payment Card Breach

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Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.