If you visited any of the 211 P.F. Changs or 192 Pei Wei Asian Diner restaurants across the United States in the three month period of March, April and May of 2014 you should get in contact with your bank, credit union or credit card provider. Early on Wednesday Arizona-based P.F. Chang's China Bistro announced that they were investigating the possible theft of customer information including debit and credit cards. The security breach could have left an untold amount of costumers vulnerable to identity theft.
Anne Deanovic, a spokeswoman for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based restaurant chain, said Wednesday morning that "P.F. Chang's takes these matters very seriously and is currently investigating the situation, working with the authorities to learn more. We will provide an update as soon as we have additional information."
The discovery of the breach is credited to Brian Krebs, the author of the KrebsonSecurity blog, when he discovered that thousand of credit and debit cards were being sold on an underground website dealing in stole data. Mr. Krebs was also credited with uncovering a breach where hackers stole credit and debit card information from Target earlier this year. That breach affect more than 40 holiday shoppers.
Mr. Krebs explains that the most common way the hackers use to acquire the information is to crack the security on the establishments cash register and implant some malicious code that will download all of the information off of the magnetic strips when the cards are run through for payment. The data is then downloaded to the servers for the hackers where they can then recode the data on a fresh magnetic strip that they put on counterfeit cards.
Mr. Krebs is a former reporter for the Washington Post where in the 14 years (1995-2009) he worked there he did over 1,800 post on a security-based blog. While security wasn't Mr. Krebs, field of study he became a self taught security expert after his home network was hacked.
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