Yum Brands, a victim of a ransomware attack, has revealed a data breach that may have compromised sensitive information, emphasizing the critical role of robust phishing protection solutions in safeguarding against cyber threats.

The American fast food corporation Yum! Brands underwent a ransomware attack on January 13, 2023. Yum! Brands owns renowned global restaurant chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell and has 55,000 restaurants in 155 countries.

The company noticed a ransomware attack on January 13, 2023, which affected some data stored in its systems. However, Yum! Brands initially stated that there is no evidence of customer data being compromised.

Two months later, the company is now sending out breach notification letters to individuals, informing them that their personal data might have been stolen after the ransomware attack!


What Information Was Affected?

As per Yum! Brands’ latest report revealed that individuals’ personal information, such as their names, driver’s licenses, and other ID card numbers, were leaked because of the January 2023 breach.

The latest investigations do not show any signs of stolen information being used for criminal activity, such as data theft and identity fraud. However, this does not mean there is no scope for the same!


What was the Attack All About?

On or around January 13, Yum! Brands was attacked by an unknown ransomware group. The initial forensic investigation indicated that some employees’ personal information might have been compromised in the security incident.

In an abundance of caution, the company informed federal law enforcement authorities about the attack and temporarily shut down its IT systems across 300 restaurants in the UK to contain the attack. In addition, the company incorporated other security measures like 24*7 monitoring and detection technology and hiring external cybersecurity experts to investigate and contain the spread of the attack.


ransomware attacks by industry

Known ransomware attacks by industry sector, February 2023

Image sourced from malwarebytes.com


How is Yum! Brands Handling the Attack?

Soon after discovering the infiltration, Yum! Brands began proactively working towards stopping the spread of the attack. It announced the attack on January 18, 2023, and has taken necessary incident response measures since then.

The US-based fast-food giant reported a whopping annual net profit of $1.3 billion. Although the attack led to a shutdown of around 300 restaurants in the United Kingdom for a day, there seems to be no prominent impact on the company’s profits and operations.

The other significant details of the attack, such as when and how the attack happened, for how long the adversaries had access to the compromised networks, etc., are yet to be disclosed or perhaps identified.

From the beginning, Yum! Brands has maintained that there is no evidence suggesting a breach of customer information. The attackers could access some of its employee data, and the company is now sending breach notifications to such individuals.

However, it is known for a fact that the usual norm of demanding a ransom after an attack wasn’t seen in this case. So far, the adversaries haven’t approached Yum! Brands with any ransom note. This, in turn, raises questions about the adversaries’ intentions behind the attack!


What is the Current Status?

Yum! Brands mentioned in its breach notification that it had incurred several expenses since the attack, which included responding to, investigating, and remediating the attack. In a January filing with the US SEC, the company assured its investors that the attack would not majorly impact its financials.

Although notifications are being sent to the affected individuals, the exact number of employees whose personal information was compromised remains undisclosed.


What Should Yum! Brands Breach Victims Do?

While there is no evidence of compromised personal information being misused so far, it is recommended that all individuals who received breach notifications take some precautionary measures.

The first thing recommended is availing of the two years complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection service offered by Yum! Brands (via IDX). You must also review account statements, monitor credit reports for suspicious activities, and remain cautious while opening or responding to emails from unknown sources.


protection from phishing


Final Words

Today, cyberattacks are part and parcel of our online dealings, and hence preparedness to tackle the probability of our personal information being compromised is essential. We must inculcate the habit of not having all our money stored in one bank account, especially the one we use to pay at stores or for online payments.

The habit of changing account passwords from time to time and setting strong and unique passwords for all online accounts is another important security measure. Lastly, remaining vigilant online, updating patches, and having backups of important data are vital measures to ensure you stay protected from threat actors.