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New Data Breach Affects 350,000 Customers of the Arby's Fast Food Chain

Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, Arby's is a popular fast food chain that is known for their roast beef sandwiches and curly fries. However, given a recent data breach that affected hundreds of thousands of customers, many are left scrutinizing their credit card statements for fraudulent charges.

Officials with Arby's were quick to point out that the breach only affected locations that were owned by the brand itself, although they didn't specify which specific locations targeted. Regardless, no independent franchises were compromised by the breach. Nonetheless, officials are estimating that more than 350,000 credit and debit card numbers were retrieved by hackers in the attack.

In all, Arby's has nearly 3,500 restaurants throughout the entirety of the United States. Of these, just over 1,000 locations are actually owned by the company.

"Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (ARG) was recently provided with information that prompted it to launch an investigation of its payment card systems. Upon learning of the incident, ARG immediately notified law enforcement and enlisted the expertise of leading security experts, including Mandiant. While the investigation is ongoing, ARG quickly took measures to contain this incident and eradicate the malware from systems at restaurants that were impacted."

A Not-So-Silent Observer

The first news of a potential data breach was reported by PSCU, a local credit union. According to them, the actual attack occurred between late October 2016 and mid-January 2017.

This isn't the first time that a popular fast food chain has been the target of hackers. Wendy's suffered a data breach in January 2016, but they weren't able to remove the suspected malware from their computer systems until several months later. Other recent victims include Dairy Queen, Jimmy John's, P.F Chang's and more.

In fact, 2016 was a bad year for data security across the board. According to some sources, the total number of reported incidents jumped by 40% compared to 2016. Only a few months into 2017 and we're already at a 36% increase at this same point last year. These statistics are really quite troubling, and it's obvious that something major has to be done as soon as possible.

Some Unhappy Customers

Until something is done to address the problem, customers will continue to take action. No less than eight lawsuits have been filed against Arby's thus far, and there's likely more to come. Apart from customers, some credit unions and banks are also seeking litigation. Federal lawsuits have come from a multitude of states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana and Pennsylvania.

Officials with North Alabama Educators Credit Union said, through a statement: "Arby's actions and omissions left highly sensitive Payment Card Data of the Plaintiff's customers exposed and accessible for hackers to steal for nearly three months."

An Open Investigation

While it's unclear whether or not the FBI is involved in the case, officials with Arby's are certainly investigating the matter. It's hard to predict the actions they'll take to prevent such problems from occurring in the future, and it's unclear if they'll offer any sort of compensation - outside of their lawsuits - to those who fell victim to the breach.

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