Boston restaurant group settles dispute after breach

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The Massachusetts attorney general's office has settled with a Boston restaurant group whose computer systems were compromised by hackers to steal some 125,000 customer credit card numbers.

The Briar Group, which owns a dozen Beantown bars and restaurants, some of which are located in the popular Faneuil Hall Marketplace, agreed to pay $110,000 in penalties.

Hackers in April 2009 infected The Briar Group's network with malware, which enabled intruders to steal names and card numbers, according to a news release Monday from Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general. The malicious code was not removed until December of 2009.

A complaint filed by attorney general's office alleged that the restaurant group committed a number of security stumbles, including failing to change default usernames and passwords on its point-of-sale systems, permitting multiple employees to share credentials and continuing to accept credit card purchases even after it knew of the breach.

"Businesses have to be responsible about protecting their systems and not allowing consumers' information to be compromised," Amie Breton, a spokeswoman for Coakley's office, told SCMagazineUS.com on Tuesday.

The attorney general's office did not sue The Briar Group under the state's stringent data security law because the breach preceded March 1, 2010, when the legislation took effect.

However, under the agreement, the restaurant company will have to comply with the law, in addition to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

A spokeswoman for The Briar Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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