Data security critical as menu of breaches grows

February 4, 2016

HOUSTON (2/4/16)--Landry’s Inc., which owns and operates restaurants such as Bubba Gump, Claim Jumper, McCormick & Schmick’s, and Morton’s, is the latest company to acknowledge a data security breach.

The company initially announced limited information about the security incidents on Dec. 17, but released a list of affected locations last week.

The invasion exposed payment cards used at 46 of its brands, including 350 locations in 34 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, according to a Jan. 29 statement. Landry's has about 500 locations nationwide.

Breaches at merchants such as Landry’s provide impetus for credit unions to urge their lawmakers to pass legislation that require higher security standards for retailers. Thousands of credit union leaders will meet with lawmakers during the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 21-25 in Washington D.C.

“These relentless reports of merchant data breaches nationwide show that they are weak links in the payments system,” said Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO. “When credit union advocates visit their legislators later this month during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, they can point to these occurrences to why all players--including merchants--in the payments system must be held to the same high security standards as financial institutions. On that point, credit unions will continue to be relentless ourselves.”

Landry's did not provide an estimate of the number of cards that may have been affected.

"Findings from the investigation show that criminal attackers were able to install a program on payment card processing devices at a certain [number] of our restaurants, food and beverage outlets, spas, entertainment destinations and managed properties," the company said in a statement. "The program was designed to search for data from the magnetic-stripe of payment cards that had been swiped as the data was being routed through affected systems."

Last week, Wendy’s reported it is investigating a possible data breach at some of its 5,700 U.S. restaurants.

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