Tempe residents potentially vulnerable after data breach hits local restaurants

Malware impacted restaurants associated with North Country Business Products Inc. such as Zipps Sports Grill and Someburros

A data breach that may have given away “unauthorized access to payment information" has struck a Minnesota-based retail technology services company whose clients include several Tempe businesses.

An unauthorized party deployed malware to obtain clients' personal information between Jan. 3 and Jan. 24, according to a statement from North Country Business Products Inc released on Feb. 15. The malware collected customer credit and debit card information such as credit card numbers, CVV and the cardholder's name. 

Businesses potentially affected by the breach include the Someburros locations on Rural Road and Apache Boulevard and Mill Avenue and Baseline Road, according to a complete list of business partners who might have been affected in its statement. The Zipps Sports Grill locations on McClintock Drive and Warner Road and Mill Avenue and University Drive are also on the list.

In the statement, North Country said that the security issue has since been corrected, and the company also established an assistance line for those seeking additional information.

A spokesperson for Zipps Sports Grill said that the effort to collect data from them was unsuccessful. 

“We do have an added layer of cybersecurity, our anti-virus was successful in identifying the virus and quarantining it immediately,” she said. “We have no reason to believe our guests’ information was compromised.”

North Country first saw suspicious activity on Jan. 4 and immediately launched an investigation. 

The investigation concluded that malware from an “unauthorized party” had been used on Jan. 30, and North Country has since increased its security.

“The company has updated processes to further strengthen its systems to protect its business partners’ customer debit or credit card information and will continue to work with third-party experts to help ensure the highest levels of security,” the statement said. 

Kim Jones, a professor of practice in the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences with 32 years of cybersecurity experience, said that people should be constantly aware of their personal information even in everyday life. 

Jones recommends people stay up-to-date on their card activity and said that in extreme situations, someone may choose to freeze their credit card, which would prevent large purchases such as loans or car payments under the compromised credit card. 

“When it comes to credit card information, one thing I would tell people is to check their credit card statements,” Jones said. “Most people don’t read those statements on a regular basis, but if you have any indication about any fraudulent activity you can immediately reach out to your bank.” 

Reach the reporter at kreinha3@asu.edu and follow @ReinhartKatelyn on Twitter.

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