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McDonald’s hit by data hack in latest high profile attack

Customer and employee information impacted

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Friday 11 June 2021 15:30 BST
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McDonald’s has revealed that its systems were hacked in countries that include the United States, Taiwan, and South Korea – impacting customer and employee information, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The hack was discovered after the burger chain hired external consultants to investigate unauthorised activity on an internal security system. During the investigation, the consultants found the company’s data was breached.

No customer data was breached in the US, McDonald’s said to its employees, but hackers did retrieve business contact information for employees and franchises. Employee data that was exposed to the hackers was not sensitive or personal, the company said.

Hackers also obtained information about specific restaurants, such as their seating capacity and square footage.

In the South Korea and Taiwan markets, customers’ personal data was accessed by the hackers.

McDonald’s said on Friday that it would now work to notify customers who were directly impacted by the data hack, but no payment information was accessed by the hackers.

“Moving forward, McDonald’s will leverage the findings from the investigation as well as input from security resources to identify ways to further enhance our existing security measures,” the company said in a statement to The Independent.

Several major industries have been hit with cyberattacks in recent months, causing concern about the impact hackers could have on critical infrastructure.

Colonial Pipelines, the Georgia-based company responsible for providing the US East Coast with 45 per cent of its fuel, made headlines after a ransomware attack in May left the company’s operating systems offline for multiple days.

The shutdown caused fuel prices to soar and panic buying from residents living in the impacted states.

Russia-based hacking group DarkSide was responsible for the attack, and they initially obtained a $4.4m ransom in Bitcoin from Colonial Pipelines to unscramble their operating systems.

It was revealed this week that the FBI recaptured a majority of the ransom paid to DarkSide.

JBS, the world’s largest beef supplier, was also hit with a ransomware attack that involved hackers breaching the company’s computer system.

McDonald’s said its data breach was not a ransomware attack, meaning no ransom was paid to hackers in order to restore impacted systems.

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