Best Western database hack exposes info on 8m customers

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Aug 26, 2008

Hotel chain data heist latest in string of major security leaks.

The global hotel chain Best Western has had its network security breached, leading to full details of thousands of its customers being harvested and made available for sale on hacker websites. The haul of sensitive information is one of the biggest in a wave of data leakage scandals over the past few months, and the discovery followed hot on the heels of yet another example, with an archiving firm specialising in banking data found to have allowed data on thousands of bank customers to leak out, via insecure retirement of hardware.

The Best Western incident was uncovered by Scottish newspaper the Sunday Herald, whose report suggests that login codes were acquired by implanting a trojan on hotel systems, and then used to access and download customer databases. Hackers made off with as many as 8 million separate records, relating to bookings made since 2007 and including complete details of customers' home addresses, phone numbers, employment details and travel plans, in what the article aptly describes as 'a complete identity-theft kit'. The full report is at the Sunday Herald here.

A second incident, also brought to light over the weekend, involved the archiving firm Graphic Data, whose digitising services are used by many banking institutions in the UK to archive paperwork. A machine once used by the firm, sold by a former employee on eBay, was found to contain highly sensitive information, including credit check data and complete credit card application forms for customers of several firms including Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and American Express. The story was broken in the Mail on Sunday, full details are online here.

The last few weeks have been peppered with similar scandals, including the loss of data on the entire population of the UK's prison system on a memory stick, covered by The Register here. In a further example of governments being embarrassed by computer security failures, a sub-section of the US Department of Homeland Security has had its phone system cracked into, with 400 unauthorised calls to the Middle East and Asia racking up bills of $12,000. More details are in an AP piece here.

Posted on 26 August 2008 by Virus Bulletin

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2019 conference programme announced

VB is excited to reveal the details of an interesting and diverse programme for VB2019, the 29th Virus Bulletin International Conference, which takes place 2-4 October in London, UK.

VB2018 paper: Under the hood - the automotive challenge

Car hacking has become a hot subject in recent years, and at VB2018 in Montreal, Argus Cyber Security's Inbar Raz presented a paper that provides an introduction to the subject, looking at the complex problem, examples of car hacks, and the…

VB2018 paper and video: Android app deobfuscation using static-dynamic cooperation

Static analysis and dynamic analysis each have their shortcomings as methods for analysing potentially malicious files. Today, we publish a VB2018 paper by Check Point researchers Yoni Moses and Yaniv Mordekhay, in which they describe a method that…

VB2019 call for papers closes this weekend

The call for papers for VB2019 closes on 17 March, and while we've already received many great submissions, we still want more!

Registration open for VB2019 ─ book your ticket now!

Registration for VB2019, the 29th Virus Bulletin International Conference, is now open, with an early bird rate available until 1 July.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.