- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Chipotle Mexican Grill advised customers to review their credit statements after the company disclosed a security incident affecting the restaurant chain’s payment processing system.

“We want to make our customers aware that we recently detected unauthorized activity on the network that supports payment processing for purchases made in our restaurants,” Chipotle said in a statement Tuesday.

“We immediately began an investigation with the help of leading cyber security firms, law enforcement and our payment processor,” the company said. “We believe actions we have taken have stopped the unauthorized activity, and we have implemented additional security enhancements.”

Chipotle said the ongoing nature of the investigation precludes it from providing further details for now, but said the security incident may have affected credit card transactions that occurred between March 24 and April 18.

Further details will be disclosed as additional information becomes available, Chipotle’s statement said. In the meantime, Chipotle said customers should monitor they payment card statement and notify their bank of any unauthorized charges.

Chipotlereported better-than-expected sales in the first quarter of 2017 on Monday, meanwhile, briefly sending the company’s stock price above $500 a share for the first time in over a year before Tuesday’s security announcement sent it plummeting back below $480.

The Denver-based restaurant chain currently operates 2,291 locations across North America and Europe, including 57 opened during 2016, according to Monday’s earnings report.

“Many customers across the U.S., Canada and U.K. will be left wondering today if they have been caught up in this hack and whether or not they have purchased a very expensive burrito,” Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee, said in a statement to Infosecurity Magazine. “Until Chipotle release additional information, customers will be unsure whether they have been targeted and if their data or money is in the hands of criminals.”

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