SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The data of more than half a million Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen customers may have been compromised, according to Darden Restaurant Group, the parent company of the popular chain.
"They (the restaurant owners) were notified by federal authorities, so that tells me their security teams didn't catch this. They didn't see that. It was the federal authorities that saw it first," said Dr. Shannon McMurtrey, an assistant professor of management information systems at Drury University.
While it has become almost commonplace to hear the phrase 'data breach,' McMurtrey said now is the time to be on guard, particularly as we near November elections.
"There are nation states that don't want us to feel secure. They don't want us to feel comfortable, so anything they can do to contribute to that, they're going to do," McMurtrey said.
In this particular case, it has not been determined who is responsible for the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen data breach that impacted an estimated 567,000 customers in 23 states or why the restaurant was filing away personal information in the first place.
"It looks like the system was storing information which may have been for convenience purposes but is really not something they should've been doing, and that may have been part of the reason they replaced the system," McMurtrey said.
The Darden Restaurant Group has reportedly changed its way of processing payments at those restaurants, no longer storing your secure information, but McMurtrey said your information is still vulnerable many different places.
"The main thing really is to just watch your statements to be very vigilant about looking for unauthorized charges," McMurtrey said.
McMurtrey recommends you avoid storing your credit card information on restaurant or store websites or apps. While doing so may provide convenience, it also makes you more vulnerable for being hacked.