Whopper of a Breach Unsecured network cost BK franchisee $200,000 in PCI-related fines

  • Team Omega
  • November 12, 2011

Credit card breaches are becoming alarmingly common. Since 2009, several high-profile companies have had their consumers’ credit card information compromised.

In January 2009, Heartland Payment Systems disclosed that hackers had gained access to computers used to process 100 million payment card transactions each month for 175,000 merchants.

More than a year later, Twin America, the parent company of CitySights NY, disclosed that an estimated 100,000 customers’ personal details, including credit card numbers, were stolen.

Those numbers appear mild compared to the credit card breach at Sony earlier this year that analysts estimate ranged from $1.5 billion to $24 billion. The company’s PlayStation Network, consisting of 77 million user-created accounts, was compromised. Analysts believe this will result in $300 million in card replacement costs. And more recently, Citigroup released details of a May 2011 attack that breached 360,083 accounts.

For the most part, consumers are protected and credit card companies are in no danger of going bankrupt: The brunt of chargebacks and fines hit the merchants.

For the store owners, these breaches are a nightmare. Tracy Amarosa, co-owner of Burger King franchisee Liberty Restaurant Group, remembers the call from the Department of Homeland Security. The government set up cameras in one of her restaurants, she said, believing it might have been a part of a larger breach.