Best Western has confirmed that a hacker has cracked into its computer system and gained access to personal data of ten guests staying at a hotel in Germany. However the hotel chain described as “largely erroneous” a claim by Glasgow’s Sunday Herald that the hacker had made off with the credit card records of 8 million guests.The Sunday Herald, which broke the story at the weekend, said the unknown Indian hacker allegedly obtained the log-in credentials for Best Western’s online booking system, including personal data of every customer that had stayed at one of its 1,312 European hotels in 2007 and 2008. It said the details were then sold on to a Russian cybercrime gang.
In response, Arizona-based Best Western issued a statement dismissing many of the assertions in the Sunday Herald’s story as inaccurate and “grossly unsubstantiated.” The hotel chain said its own investigation had shown that the intrusion was limited to just one hotel and that just over a dozen customer records were compromised. It latter reduced this figure to ten.
In a latter update, Best Western identified the hotel where the breach took place as the 107-room Best Western Hotel am Schloss Kopenick in Berlin.The company said that on Aug. 21, three separate attempts were made via a single log-in ID to access reservations data from that hotel. Further investigations have shown that the intrusion resulted in the compromise of information about 10 guests, each of whom has been contacted by the hotel, Best Western said.
The update also reiterated Best Western’s policies for limiting data exposure and noted that the company purges reservations data within seven days of a guest’s departure. As a result, the maximum amount of customer reservations data that potentially could have been exposed was limited to the information of current guests, those who had departed within seven days of the intrusion, and people who had booked future stays at the Berlin hotel, Best Western said.
Best Western said it was working with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and international authorities to further investigate the incident.