In this day and age, data breaches are becoming a worrying trend. Anyone who has stayed in a hotel managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts may want to keep an eye on their financial statements. As it turns out, more than 50 hotels have been affected by a malware attack targeting the point-of-sale systems, putting customers’ financial information at risk.
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US & Canada Hotels Affected By Malware
Attacking a point-of-sale system with malware is not something that occurs all that often, albeit it can cause a lot of havoc and damage. According to the information we have received, this malware has been infecting various point-of-sale systems throughout the United States and Canada. Consumers who have used a credit or debit card at a hotel restaurant or gift shop may be victim to hackers stealing financial data.
The list of affected locations includes Westin and Sheraton hotels throughout the US and Canada, as well as other locations managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. All of the malware has been removed from the point-of-sale terminals and additional security measures have been implemented, according to a statement issued by the company.
Though credit card information may have been exposed as a result of this malware attack, card PIN numbers were not affected. For most consumers, this means their cards can not be emptied at an ATM, but that doesn’t make the malware attack less worrying. In the end, sensitive consumer details have leaked due to improper security precautions.
What is even more concerning is how high-profile locations, such as the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel and the Westin Los Angeles Airport, have been affected by this malware attack. Prominent locations, especially when managed by an overarching group, should always provide top-notch security measures.
As is usually these case with these types of reports, the malware attacks have been occurring for quite some time now. The report indicates how the earliest incidents was reported back in November of 2014, and the most recent theft took place in March of 2015. For the time being, no new incidents were announced since the end of Q1 2015.
Time For More Secure Payment Options
When accepting traditional payment methods, such as credit and debit cards, there are only so many layers of security that can be added over time. The biggest issue really concerns how these payment methods were never intended to be used on such a global scale. Also, this malware attack targeted the payment terminals being used, and not the cards themselves.
For merchants and retailers, there are very few payment methods that offer additional security at their disposal. Bitcoin is a payment method that removes chargebacks and fraud from the equation, at lower transaction fees. Furthermore, Bitcoin is a global currency, which can be used and accepted by anyone in the world within minutes.
What are your thoughts on this malware attack targeting point-of-sale terminals? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Starwood Hotels and Resorts