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Hotelier faces FTC data breach lawsuit

Agency claims Wyndam’s security inadequate, credit card info sent to Russia

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“Repeated failures” to protect customer data have led the FTC to file a data breach lawsuit against hotel operator Wyndham Worldwide, whose brands include Ramada Days Inn, Travelodge, Super 8 and Howard Johnson.

According to Reuters, the US regulator alleges that Wyndham’s slack security “led to hundreds of thousands of consumers' payment card information being exported to an Internet domain address registered in Russia.”

The data breaches occurred between 2008 and 2010, with more than 600,000 accounts ultimately compromised. The agency says an unspecified number of customers had reported fraudulent transactions against their cards.

The FTC is also alleging that the hotelier made “deceptive claims” about its privacy policy. It puts the ultimate cost of the breaches at $US10.6 million.

The agency’s complaints also include that Wyndham failed to employ strong security measures (such as complex passwords), and that it stored credit card details as plain text.

According to the LA Times the company will contest the allegations, and says it always notified customers when breaches occurred.

Its statement says: “We regret the FTC’s recent decision to pursue litigation, as we have fully cooperated in its investigation and believe its claims are without merit.” ®

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