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Hilton Hotels confirms that malware was found on its point-of-sale systems

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November 25, 2015

Earlier today, Hilton Hotels has confirmed that malware was found on its point-of-sale systems and that it managed to steal some critical payment card information.

The compromised data includes cardholder names, payment card numbers, security codes and expiry dates. Addresses and PINs were not exposed however, after an investigation that brought in third-party forensics experts, law enforcement and payment card companies.

Hilton didn't say how many or which hotel locations may have been affected by the breach, but is telling customers to carefully review their payment card statements, particularly if they used their cards at a Hilton Worldwide hotel between the specified dates: November 8 to December 5th, 2014 or from April 21 to July 27, 2015.

The hotel chain is also keeping quiet about the number of people or credit card records exposed at a result of the security breach.

In its public statement, Hilton sought to assure guests that the malware had been purged and the security of its systems strengthened in the wake of the attack.

Hilton Worldwide has identified and taken action to further eradicate unauthorized malware that targeted payment card information in some point-of-sale systems.

Hilton immediately launched an investigation and has further strengthened its systems.

Confirmation of the security breach on Tuesday doesn’t come as a surprise since it comes weeks after reports in September that the hotel chain had suffered a large hacker's attack.

Again the number of records exposed was left unclear. The security attack follows a succession of similar breaches on other hotel chains, including Starwood and Trump Hotels over recent months.

Ryan Wilk, director at fraud prevention firm NuData Security, commented-- “This credit card breach announcement is just one of a spate of similar attacks that have occurred over the last year or so targeting hotels,” he said.

“While we can’t know for sure what the hackers' long-term plans are, it does seem credible that they are targeting specific industries that likely have the same exploits in order to maximise their efforts before moving on to the next industry,” he commented.

“Once they get the card numbers, hackers then sell them on the dark web, use them directly in credit card cycling scams, or tie them to other data leaks to create full personas ripe for identity theft or fraudulent account creation,” he added.

Kevin Watson, chief executive at Netsurion, a provider of remotely managed security for multi-location businesses, added-- “It’s especially important during the holiday season for merchants, retailers, hotels and hospitality businesses that process payment data to understand that they are lucrative targets,” he said.

“Therefore, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to protect customer data and ensure that stronger security measures are in place for their networks, payment systems and on-premise Wi-Fi services. Making those areas a priority now will allow them to focus on the core business,” he added.

Source: Hilton Hotels.

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