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Top Story: Major hotel chain investigating serious data breach

Top Story: Major hotel chain investigating serious data breach
photo courtesy of shutterstock

Well, we couldn't quite make it out of 2016 without learning of yet another data breach. You probably remember us telling you earlier this year about two of the largest data breaches in history that affected billions of Yahoo customers.

The latest attack couldn't have come at a worse time. The holiday traveling season. A multinational hotel company is investigating a possible breach of its payment card system.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has hired a computer security company to look into the potential breach. Some of its customers have reported fraudulent transactions on their credit and debit cards.

Which hotels were breached?

InterContinental Hotels Group is the parent company for over 5,000 hotels all over the world. They include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Kimpton Hotels, Even Hotels, and Hotel Indigo.

KrebsOnSecurity recently received reports of the possible credit card breach. The hotels most likely breached were Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express located in the U.S. However, at this time we don't have a confirmed list of affected hotels.

IHG released this statement:

"IHG takes the protection of payment card data very seriously. We were made aware of a report of unauthorized charges occurring on some payment cards that were recently used at a small number of U.S.-based hotel locations. We immediately launched an investigation, which includes retaining a leading computer security firm to provide us with additional support. We continue to work with the payment card networks.

"We are committed to swiftly resolving this matter. In the meantime, and in line with best practice, we recommend that individuals closely monitor their payment card account statements. If there are unauthorized charges, individuals should immediately notify their bank. Payment card network rules generally state that cardholders are not responsible for such charges."

This breach appears to be another point-of-sale attack like the ones we reported earlier this year. This summer we told you about 20 hotel chains that were hit by a major data breach. With so many breaches happening, it's a good idea to take some security precautions.

Take these safety steps:

  • Keep an eye on your bank accounts - You should be frequently checking your bank statements, looking for suspicious activity. If you see anything that seems strange, report it immediately. This is especially true when there are reports of credit and debit card fraud.
  • Change your password - Whenever you hear news of a data breach, it's a good idea to change your account passwords. Read this article to help you create hack-proof passwords.
  • Beware of phishing scams - Scammers will try and piggyback on highly reported cybercrimes. They will create phishing emails, pretending to be the affected company, hoping to get victims to click on malicious links that could lead to more problems. Take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.
  • Manage passwords - Many people use the same username and password on multiple sites. This is a terrible practice and you should never do it. If you're using the same credentials on multiple sites, change them to make them unique. If you have too many accounts to remember, you could always use a password manager.
  • Have strong security software - Protecting your gadgets with strong security software is important. It's the best defense against digital threats.

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Source: Reuters
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