Feeds

Best Western plays down impact of hack attack

8 million records? Huh, more like 10

Seven Steps to Software Security

Hotel chain Best Western has denied falling victim to a large-scale hacking attack.

A report in the Scotland's Glasgow Sunday Herald claims that the hotel chain has been turned over by a hacker who lifted eight million customer records. It reports that the Indian hacker who carried out the heist sold on the information to Russian cybercriminals. Data allegedly stolen included addresses, telephone numbers and credit card details.

The attack was pulled off using a Trojan horse to infect a PC with access to the hotel's online booking system.

Details of anyone who stayed in any of 1,312 European Best Western since last year were potentially exposed by the hack, the Herald claims. However, Best Western said that only one of its hotels (in Berlin) was hit and that only a handful of customers were affected.

The Herald reported that the breach was discovered on Thursday and shot down, following a tip-off to the hotel by the paper, on Friday afternoon (22 August). This makes for one of the few points of agreement between the paper and hotel.

Best Western said that the impact of the attack had been grossly overestimated. A spokeswoman said that the breach involved just one hotel in Germany and only ten customer records. Best Western added that because the hotel chain purges customer records a week after guests leave, the claims in the Herald report simply don't stack up.

We can confirm that on August 21, 2008, three separate attempts were made via a single log-on ID to access the same data from a single hotel. The hotel in question is the 107-room Best Western Hotel am Schloss Kopenick in Berlin, Germany, where a Trojan horse virus was detected by the hotel’s anti-virus software. The compromised log-in ID permitted access to reservations data for that property only. The log-in ID was immediately terminated, and the computer in question has been removed from use.

We can also confirm that we have been able to narrow down the number of customers affected by this breach to ten. We are currently contacting those customers and offering assistance as needed.

We are working with the FBI and international authorities to investigate further.

Best Western's statement adds that it plans to "reinforce best data protection practices" at our 4000 worldwide hotels. The chain is already compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS).

Customers with concerns are encouraged to call Best Western Customer Care in the US on +1 800 528 1238. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.