Data Breach Effects Can Last for Years

Robert LilesCybersecurity

Most media consumers will see news of a data breach splash across the screen. Perhaps the item will scroll past on the news ticker, or the breach may be profound enough to warrant more in-depth coverage and become a feature story. In some cases, a single data breach may make headlines for a few days after being first reported.

One ill effect of a 24-hour news cycle is how quickly one major story supplants another. Data breaches are no exception. In a short period of time, politics, global affairs, and other current events typically bump the data breach from the news. Consequently, these stories can be forgotten almost as quickly as they appeared.

While many consumers may not remember a breach despite heavy coverage, the organizations directly affected—as well as peripheral entities and people—are not as quick to forget. It’s understood that an affected organization faces some financial burden soon after the attack. With that in mind, few understand that the impact—including additional costs—may continue for years, long after the general public has focused its collective attention on something else.

The harsh reality is that the nightmare is far from over. This is indeed the case of an East Coast convenience store chain, Wawa.


In December 2019, Wawa discovered malware on its payment processing servers. They learned that at least since March 4, 2019 customer information, including both credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and cardholder names had been compromised. Their security team did not realize it until December 10 that year. It was contained by December 12, more than nine months after it was infected.

In most instances, the story stops there. However, as of late August 2021 Wawa is still embroiled in the issue, as litigation followed. The case was brought to court where a federal judge gave a preliminary approval for a $9 million settlement.

The class action suit varies, depending how the affected customers were impacted. Some customers will get either a $5 or $15 Wawa gift certificate, whereas others may receive up to $500 in cash. This offer may placate some, while insulting others. Affected customers could claim what they’re entitled to, reject the offer, or even object to the deal.

What is important to note is that the case is not yet resolved. This raises the potential for higher costs, not only in payouts, but also in legal fees. Additional media coverage on this incident is not good publicity for Wawa either, potentially costing it in potential sales.

Secure Solutions

The continued class action suit against Wawa is a grim reminder of the data breach threat. It also illustrates that the costs of a data breach extend well beyond any burden incurred immediately after the incident.

If you believe you have been the victim of a data breach, or would like to discuss options to protect your valuable data, your business, and your customers, contact one of our experts today at 1-800-520-1677.