International hotel giant acknowledges breach at a dozen hotels

News by Max Metzger

An international hotelier has acknowledged the breaches hit 12 of its hotels in the Americas, attempting to take information from customers' credit cards

A hospitality giant has confirmed breaches at 12 of its hotels. Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), which operates 5028 hotels over a variety of brands including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, acknowledged on Friday, 3 February that a range of its properties had been breached and customer credit card data was stolen. The affected were mostly situated around the United States, but hotels in Toronto and the Antilles were also caught in the breaches.

IHG started an investigation on 28 December, after the company received reports of unauthorised charges on cards that were used at its hotels. It then hired cyber-security firms to examine the payment card processing systems it uses in the Americas.

A statement released by IHG on 3 February confirmed that the malware lay on the payment processing servers of the hotels' restaurants and bars but not at the front desk.

The malware itself took credit card numbers, verification codes, expiration dates and the names of the owners by taking it from the magnetic stripe on the card.

The investigation into potential breaches began on 28 December 2016, “after receiving a report of unauthorised charges occurring on some payment cards that were used at a small number of U. hotel properties.”

The statement reads, “IHG has been working with the security firms to review IHG's security measures, confirm that this issue has been remediated, and evaluate ways to enhance IHG's security measures.” The group is now working with law enforcement and the payment card networks so that they can flag any misuse of the stolen information. It will also be notifying affected customers.

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