Credit cards have turned out to be one of the most widely used modes of payment. People use it to pay for everything, starting from groceries, hotel stays and high-value articles, both online and offline. However, the obsolete security features on cards and the rising cyber threats make cryptocurrencies look like the most secure and attractive payment option.
A recent cyber attack involving a malware that affected over 1200 hotels belonging to the InterContinental Hotels Group, compromising the credit card information of thousands of guests. The sustained malware attack is said to have gone unnoticed for over 3 months, affecting multiple hotel chains belonging to InterContinental including Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites and more.
The compromised information includes data stored on cards’ magnetic stripes, names on the credit cards, expiration dates and international verification code. The recent statement by InterContinental about the data breach reads,
“The investigation identified signs of the operation of malware designed to access payment card data from cards used onsite at front desks at certain IHG-branded franchise hotel locations between September 29, 2016, and December 29, 2016,”
Many people who swiped their cards at the affected hotels found their accounts being fraudulently charged, rising suspicion about the data breach. This is not the first time the hotel chains have been targetted by cybercriminals. Some of the other targets in the past includes Kimpton Hotels, Trump Hotels, Hilton, Mandarin Oriental, White Lodging, Starwood Hotels and Hyatt.
It won’t be surprising if all the stolen credit card data from the InterContinental hack surfaces on the darknet marketplaces, as it happens almost all the time. At this time it is unclear as to how many people have been affected by the breach, but it has further strengthened the case for the use of a much better and secure system, like Blockchain-based payments or even Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.