A recent notification from the Maine attorney general’s office, reveals that California Pizza Kitchen suffered a data breach around Sept. 15, 2021 that exposed the social security numbers of more than 100,000 current and former employees. The pizza chain said that upon discovering the suspicious activity to its network, it "immediately secured the environment and, with the assistance of third-party computer specialists, launched an investigation to determine the nature and scope of the incident." However, it wasn't until Oct. 13, 2021 that the company determined the "scope of impacted individuals and the types of protected data" impacted by the breach.
"Unfortunately, data breaches have become the new normal these days," says Erich Kron, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. "The fact that this particular data breach involved employees' personally identifiable information is unfortunate because of the potential legal ramifications that it can cause for the company. Social security numbers, such as the ones that were lost here, are very valuable to attackers, especially around the end of the year. Cybercriminals can use the information lost here, along with other information they may be able to find out about a person, to file fraudulent income tax returns or to otherwise steal the identity of data breach victims. The employees of California Pizza Kitchen should monitor their credit reports closely over the next few months for any fraudulent activity and report anything suspicious immediately."
The pizzeria said it would be proactively reaching out to those individuals who might be affected by the breach to not only let them know their information could be compromised but also to provide access to credit monitoring services for 12 months through TransUnion, guidance on how to better protect against identity theft and fraud, information on how to place a fraud alert and security freeze on one's credit file, information on protecting against tax fraud, and more.
California Pizza Kitchen currently has 250 locations in 32 states and currently employs approximately 14,000 employees.