Security Experts:

Huddle House Suffers Payment Card Breach

Huddle House, an Atlanta-based restaurant chain with over 300 locations across the United States, informed customers recently that their payment card information may have been compromised as a result of a security breach.

The company learned from law enforcement and its credit card processor that some of its corporate and franchise restaurants may have been hit by a cyberattack. Huddle House has hired a cybersecurity firm to assist with the investigation, but it has yet to determine how many locations are affected.

According to the company, attackers hacked into a third-party point-of-sale (PoS) vendor’s network and used that vendor’s “assistance tools” to gain remote access to Huddle House and deploy malware on PoS systems.

The investigation is ongoing, but Huddle House believes payment cards used at its restaurants since August 1, 2017 may have been compromised.

The malware was designed to harvest information from the magnetic stripe of a payment card, including name, card number, expiration date, service code, and card security code.

Huddle House says it has implemented additional cybersecurity measures in an effort to prevent future attacks while it continues to investigate the incident.

“The Huddle House restaurant breach caused by a compromised third-party POS vendor went undetected much longer than it should have—but this is, unfortunately, a common theme today. Once a breach has been discovered, investigations typically reveal that adversaries have been occupying their network for days, if not months—and sometimes years,” Stephen Moore, chief security strategist at Exabeam, told SecurityWeek.

“Frequently, an intrusion is detected by a notable change, such as a rapid increase in network traffic, a suspicious system login location or time, or the unusual export of sensitive information. But not all attacks have an obvious pattern. Often adversaries who have gained access to a network are conducting a ‘low and slow’ attack. This is where they carefully and methodically move laterally across devices and users so as not to attract attention—doing reconnaissance and strategizing on how best to exfiltrate data,” Moore added.

The list of major restaurant chains that have disclosed payment card breaches in the past year also includes Chili’s, Applebee's, and Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen.

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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.