Analecta Cyber Company Blog: Starwood warns of data breach at 54 hotels

2015-12-26

Starwood warns of data breach at 54 hotels

The American hotel company Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. recently disclosed that debit and credit card information for customers who dined or shopped at 54 of its hotels was compromised by hackers.



The attack affects hotels including a St. Regis in Bal Harbour, Florida, and Sheraton, Westin and W locations in Los Angeles, New York, Boston and several other cities, according to the Connecticut-based hotel chain.

The company said malware was discovered in payment systems at restaurants, gift shops, bars and other retail areas within the hotels. Luckily, the malware wasn’t found on the front desk systems used when guests pay for their hotel stays.

An investigation uncovered that the malware exposed names on the cards as well as card numbers, security codes and expiration dates. Information compromised did not include customer contact information and PINs. Additionally, the hotel’s loyalty program wasn't affected.

The company adds more hotels to the list of those hacked just this year, including The Trump Hotel Collection and Mandarin Oriental.

List of hotels released online


Starwood hotels posted a list online of the hotels affected by the hacking. The company also included the specific time period during which the malware was discovered. This list is available at www.starwoodhotels.com/paymentcardsecuritynotice.

Though most of the affected hotel branches were in the US, there were some Canda, Puerto Rico and other locations.

Upon deeper investigations, the company confirmed that the malware, which has since been removed, may have been in their payment  systems as early as November 2014.

During the same week that Starwood was responding to its data breach, Marriott International Inc.  said it intended  to buy the company  for $12.2 billion. The deal is expected to be completed by the second quarter of next year.

Once completed, the merger would create the larget hotel company in the world. Starwood  has 1,275 properties combined while Marriott's has more than 4,300.