Security Experts:

Data Breach Hits 140 Cicis Restaurants

Texas-based pizza restaurant chain CiCi’s, recently rebranded as Cicis, informed customers on Tuesday that their payment card information may have been stolen by malware installed on point-of-sale systems at some locations.

The company said it launched an investigation in March 2016, after some of its restaurants reported problems with PoS systems. Cicis’ PoS vendor soon discovered malware at some locations, which led to a forensic analysis conducted by a cybersecurity firm.

Investigators confirmed that cybercriminals managed to plant malware on Cicis PoS systems in an effort to steal data from payment cards used by customers. Malware has been found at nearly 140 restaurants in Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas and Alabama. It’s worth noting that Cicis has nearly 450 buffet-style restaurants in 33 states.

While in most cases the attackers gained access to PoS systems in March 2016, some restaurants in Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas had been breached since mid-2015.

“While we believe most of the breaches were remedied within a few weeks of the intrusion, out of an abundance of caution we are not declaring some restaurants as threat-free until they were reviewed by our forensic analyst this month,” Cicis wrote in a data breach notice.

According to the company, not all the credit and debit cards used at affected restaurants have been stolen, and no other customer information has been compromised.

Security blogger Brian Krebs, who was the first to break the news on the Cicis breach in early June, learned from the restaurant chain’s PoS provider that fraudsters planted card-stealing malware by tricking employees. Krebs analyzed the botnet leveraged in the attack and determined that fraudsters had managed to steal roughly 600,000 cards from Cicis locations.

Earlier this month, fast food restaurant chain Wendy’s informed customers that a recent breach impacted more than 1,000 of its locations. The company initially reported that only 300 franchised restaurants had been affected.

Fast-casual restaurant chain Noodles & Company has also suffered a data breach. The company said cybercriminals planted PoS malware at a majority of its 500 restaurants.

Related: PunkeyPOS Impacts Millions via Infected Restaurants

Related: Omni Hotels Subtly Discloses Payment System Hack

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at 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.