Economy

Panera Bread data breach exposes customer records

Panera Bread data breach exposes customer records

Panera Bread's website leaked the information of customers who used its website to place orders for the past eight months, according to an internet security website.

In a blog post from Monday, Krebs noted that the security flaw meant customers' names, emails, addresses, birthdays, and the last four digits of their credit card numbers were not safeguarded for almost the past year.

Krebs says that indexed data from Panera's website indicates that more than 7 million customers may be affected.

Brian Krebs, an independent investigative journalist who authors the "Krebs on Security" cybersecurity blog, reported that Panera was first alerted to the breach in August, eight months before it became public knowledge.

Do you use the Panera Bread website?

In a just-published Medium post with images of old email exchanges, Houlihan stated that he reached out via email, Twitter, and LinkedIn to Panera Bread's director of information security, Mike Gustavison, upon discovering the breach, but received no reply.

The food chain's website reportedly left its customers' personal data completely exposed for anyone to scoop up. Eventually, the Panera executive said they were working to fix the problem.

"Now, after I was reassured this would be fixed, I checked on this vulnerability every month or so because my own data is in there, which means I'm personally affected by it", Houlihan wrote.

"No, the flaw never disappeared", Houlian told Krebs.

While it might seem that Panera Bread got away unscathed in this situation-that a cyber researcher found the potential for a breach, not a thief-the news is still troubling for a brand with such a strong digital and mobile platform. And even though Panera Bread was aware of the issue since August of past year, "the flaw never disappeared", Houlihan said, adding that "checked on it every month or so because I was pissed".

Before publishing details of the problem, Krebs spoke to Panera Bread's CIO John Meister, and the website was soon afterwards briefly taken down for "essential system maintenance".


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