Dairy Queen is the latest company to have some of its credit and debit card data threatened by hackers.
The Edina-based fast-food chain announced Wednesday that it is investigating a possible data breach apparently caused by the same security bug that infected Target, Supervalu and other retailers in the past several months, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.
“Customer data at a limited number of stores may be at risk,” Dairy Queen said in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon. It did not disclose how many stores and customers might be affected.
The statement said Dairy Queen was recently notified that it may be another victim of the “Backoff” malware, which is linked to data breaches at Target, Supervalu and United Parcel Service, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The company didn’t say how it was notified of the problem.
A blizzard of questions about DQ’s data arose after security blogger Brian Krebs wrote Tuesday that financial institutions were noticing “a pattern of fraud on cards that were all recently used at various Dairy Queen locations in several states.” He did not list Minnesota as one of states.
The Krebs report said DQ franchisees may have been breached as far back as early June. The problem may have gone undetected for so long because those franchisees are not required to report instances of fraud to the company’s headquarters, Dairy Queen acknowledged in its statement.
Krebs, who writes the KrebsOnSecurity blog, was the first to break the story last December about the massive data breach at Target, which ultimately touched millions of its customers and took a bite out of the discounter’s profits.
The federal government warned last week that more than 1,000 retailers are susceptible to the Backoff malware, according to CBS News. The malware could be infecting their cash register computers, allowing hackers to steal customer financial data.
Dairy Queen said in its statement it’s working to gather more information from potentially affected franchises and credit card companies, and is cooperating with authorities.
The company, which has about 4,500 stores in the U.S., is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.