Hyatt Hotels discovers card data breach at 41 properties (H)

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii is among those affected by the latest breach.               Image Hyatt Hotels

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii is among those affected by the latest breach. Image Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt said it launched a "comprehensive investigation" into the breach and is working with leading third-party experts, payment card networks and authorities.

It should be noted that this is now the second time in two years that the Hyatt chain has been hacked.

The breach affected 41 facilities across 11 countries: the US, Brazil, China, Colombia, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

In a press statement, Hyatt Corp. announced that hackers were able to access details of payment cards which were either swiped or manually entered at the front desk of the affected hotels. "Our enhanced cybersecurity measures and additional layers of defense implemented over time helped to identify and resolve the issue".

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has proven that the adage "once bitten, twice shy" is inaccurate after revealing that its payment system was hacked and customer data such as credit card details were stolen.

'We have directly contacted all guests for whom we have appropriate and reliable contact information that used payment cards at affected hotels during the at-risk dates'.

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"I want to assure you that there is no indication that information beyond that gained from payment cards - cardholder name, card number, expiration date and internal verification code - was involved, and as a result of implemented measures created to prevent this from happening in the future, guests can feel confident using payment cards at Hyatt hotels worldwide", said Floyd. For more, see Hyatt's FAQ about the breach.

"Based on our investigation, we understand that such unauthorized access to card data was caused by an insertion of malicious software code from a third party onto certain hotel IT systems", Chuck Floyd, Hyatt's head of global operations said in a statement. That same year saw other major hoteliers impacted by payment card breaches and malware attacks, including Hilton, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Trump Hotels and White Lodging Hotel Service Corp.

The nation with the largest number of Hyatt properties impacted was China (18).

Steve Moore, vice president and chief security strategist at Exabeam Inc.

"The specific infection point from "cards manually entered or swiped at the front desk" reminds me of several already public cases".

'Alternatively, physical access could have resulted in a similar initial infection, using old methods such as "may I use your computer?" then compromising the system, or even tossing about malware laden USB drives that security unaware staff foolishly plug into their computers, ' he added.

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