Email service provider breach leads to McDonald's customer data being leaked

News by Dan Raywood

A third party breach has led to McDonald's customer data being leaked.

A third party breach has led to McDonald's customer data being leaked.

In a statement, McDonald's said that ‘limited customer information collected in connection with our promotions or websites was improperly accessed by a third party' and the information included details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and gender. 

It said: “It is important to note that this incident has nothing to do with credit card use at the restaurants. The database did not contain any credit card information or any other financial information.”

A partner Arc Worldwide was asked to develop and coordinate the distribution of promotional emails, who in turn hired an unnamed email service provider to supervise and manage the email database that was accessed.

McDonald's said that it does not collect sensitive financial information, such as Social Security Numbers or credit card numbers online or through email and as such, the information improperly accessed did not include this type of information.

It warned customers to be wary of anyone claiming to be be from the company. “In the event that you are contacted by someone claiming to be from McDonald's asking for personal or financial information, do not respond and instead immediately contact us at the number below so we can contact the authorities. Please remember, McDonald's would not ask for that type of information online or through email,” it said in a statement.

McDonald's did not detail the timing or scope of the breach but said that it is working with law enforcement.

Talking to SC Magazine, Mark Darvill, director at AEP Networks, said: “The issue with outsourcing is that you need to be clear about the data you have in their control. The more you put in a third party you hope will be trusted. A company like McDonald's has to ensure that whatever it outsources it will have levels of control and it is compliant with its practises.

"This comes back to the cloud too, it is about the security of data when it is at rest as if you are putting data into another company's control, you have to think about the security of the data at rest."   

Paul Vlissidis, technical director at NGS Secure, the security testing division of NCC Group, said: “This is a good example of how you cannot transfer risk where network security is concerned. Nowadays, third party suppliers often have access to company networks, sometimes to quite a high level.

“It is an old adage that security is only as good as the weakest link and in cases like this, the supply chain may be that weak spot. We advise all our customers to ensure that all their third party suppliers undergo rigorous and regular security testing before they are allowed to access the customer's network or even handle their customer data.”

A new survey by Forrester reveals 56 per cent of third party code is untested. Hear Forrester and SC magazine dissecting the results


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