Security breach exposes customers of Portland eatery to cyber crime

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PORTLAND — An Old Port cafe and restaurant is warning customers that a data security breach has compromised the private information of anyone who has used a debit card at the restaurant in the last two weeks.

The Works Bakery Cafe, 15 Temple St., released a statement on Thursday saying the company has “despite stringent security and precautions … fallen victim to cyber crime.”

The company believes that on or around Jan. 14, criminals installed malicious software on its point-of-sale computers, designed to steal private information from debit cards as they were swiped, according to the statement from Richard French, the company’s founder. The company does not store credit or debit card information, French said.

The Works is based in Keene, N.H., and has six locations in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Its Portland cafe is across the street from One City Center, in the building that houses the Temple Street garage and Patriot Cinemas Nickelodean movie theater.

Federal authorities have advised that any customers who used a debit card at any of the business’ locations between mid-January and Feb. 1 should contact their bank to cancel their debit card and have a new one issued. Authorities recommend reviewing banking activity during that two-week period.

French said the business is working with investigators on the matter and has increased its security measures in the wake of the cyber attack.