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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

New York AG sues national coffee chain over data breach

State Issues State Attorney General Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Data Breach

State Issues

On September 26, the New York attorney general announced a lawsuit against a national franchisor of a coffee retail chain for allegedly failing to protect thousands of customer accounts from a series of cyberattacks. According to the complaint, the attorney general asserts that, beginning in 2015, customer accounts containing stored value cards that could be used to make purchases in stores and online were subject to repeated cyberattack attempts, resulting in almost 20,000 compromised accounts and “tens of thousands” of dollars stolen. The attorney general alleges that, following the attacks, the company failed to take steps to protect the affected customers, such as notifying them of the unauthorized access, resetting account passwords, or freezing the stored value cards. The complaint also alleges that the retailer failed to conduct an investigation to determine the extent of the attacks or implement appropriate safeguards to limit future attacks. In addition, according to the complaint, in 2018, a vendor notified the company of another attack that resulted in the unauthorized access of over 300,000 customer accounts, and the company’s response included inaccurate representations to customers. The complaint asserts violations of New York’s data breach notification statute and violations of New York’s consumer protection laws. The attorney general is seeking injunctive relief, restitution, disgorgement, and civil money penalties.

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