One of the largest and most famous fast food chains in the world fell victim to a data breach recently. Hackers attacked McDonald’s and stole data from systems in multiple markets. The massive restaurant chain revealed that the markets involved in the attack include South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.
Though three countries had been confirmed as being breached, the Asian systems were more impacted in terms of customer and employee data. The phone numbers, emails, and addresses of delivery customers in South Korea were accessed in the breach. In Taiwan the hackers also managed to access employee information, including names and contact information.
In the United States, some McDonald’s information was compromised though not to the extent as in South Korea and Taiwan. The American systems impacted yielded business contact information for some employees and franchisees.
The fast food giant claimed that no customer data in the United States had been breached in the cyberattack. However, it also noted that systems in South Africa and Russia may also have been breached.
Silver Lining for the Golden Arches
McDonald’s operates in over 100 countries, and is a multibillion-dollar company. These factors contributed to it becoming a prime target for cybercriminals. While the attack is unfortunate, McDonald’s had taken preemptive steps to mitigate losses and damage.
The company cited its “substantial investments” in cybersecurity it had made in recent years to lessen the impact of a cyberattack. The company identified unauthorized activity on its internal security system and cut it off one week after detection.
Unlike many other companies and organizations that suffer cyberattacks, this breach did not disrupt business at any McDonald’s restaurants. The company also hired external investigators to look into the attack. The company also stated that relatively few files were accessed in the breach.
(Largely) Avoided Disaster
Although McDonald’s suffered a cyberattack, its good practices show the importance of protecting data and implementing a strong digital security plan. A number of large companies in 2021 alone have been the victims of devastating breaches, often from outdated, legacy software. These incidents spurred companies to improve their cybersecurity.
Notably, the Colonial Pipeline breach prompted the federal government to call for new cybersecurity regulations on all pipeline operators. Only a short while earlier, the Washington Metropolitan Police were hit with a ransomware attack and sensitive information regarding officers and others were published online.
Comparatively, McDonald’s was less adversely affected than many others in 2021. This is in part because of its investment in its cybersecurity efforts. The attack could have been much worse, but the company understood the value of buffering itself against potential cybercriminals.
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