In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal con­firms breach at 12 ho­tels


The In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Ho­tels Group (IHG), the par­ent com­pany for thou­sands of ho­tels world­wide in­clud­ing Hol­i­day Inn, ac­knowl­edged re­cently that a credit card breach im­pacted at least a dozen prop­er­ties. In a state­ment, IHG said it found ma­li­cious soft­ware in­stalled on point of sale servers at restau­rants and bars of 12 IHG-man­aged prop- er­ties be­tween Au­gust and De­cem­ber 2016. The stolen data in­cluded in­for­ma­tion stored on the mag­netic stripe on the backs of cus­tomer credit and debit cards — the card­holder name, card num­ber, ex­piry date, and in­ter­nal ver­i­fi­ca­tion code.

The com­pany ad­vised that its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into other prop­er­ties in the Amer­i­cas re­gion is on­go­ing. Card-steal­ing cy­ber thieves have bro­ken into some of the largest ho­tel chains over the past few years. Ho­tel brands that have ac­knowl­edged card breaches over the last year af­ter prompt­ing by Kreb­sOnSe­cu­rity in­clude Kimp­ton Ho­tels, Trump Ho­tels (twice), Hil­ton, Man­darin Ori­en­tal, and White Lodg­ing (twice). Card breaches also have hit hos­pi­tal­ity chains Star­wood Ho­tels and Hy­att.

In many of those in­ci­dents, thieves planted ma­li­cious soft­ware on the point-of-sale de­vices at restau­rants and bars in­side of the ho­tel chains. Point-of-sale based mal­ware has driven most of the credit card breaches over the past two years, in­clud­ing in­tru­sions at Tar­get and Home De­pot, as well as breaches at a slew of pointof-sale ven­dors. The mal­ware usu­ally is in­stalled via hacked re­mote ad­min­is­tra­tion tools. Once the at­tack­ers have their mal­ware loaded onto the point-of-sale de­vices, they can re­motely cap­ture data from each card swiped at that cash reg­is­ter.

Thieves can then sell that data to crooks who spe­cialise in en­cod­ing the stolen data onto any card with a mag­netic stripe, and us­ing the cards to pur­chase high-priced elec­tron­ics and gift cards from big-box stores like Tar­get and Best Buy.

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