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Trump Hotel Reservation System Hacked - Credit Card Info From 14 Properties Stolen

The word ‘hacking’ gets thrown around a lot in political circles these days, but the context in which it’s used is pretty far away from common interpretations of the word. For example, it’s often alleged that Russia ‘hacked’ the 2016 presidential election, but the reality is that it hasn’t been proven that a single vote has been changed due to Russian efforts.

Attempt to interfere in our election? Almost definitely, but it’s a far more common practice than it’s portrayed to be. Hack the election? That’s a bridge too far, but here’s a real-life example of what hacking looks like.

Coincidentally, the hacking has to do with a number of Trump organization properties - 14 to be exact.

As The Hill shares, between August 2016 and March 2017, hackers were able to gain access to credit cards and other information from guests at 14 different Trump properties. The Trump organization released a statement on the matter on its website.

“We recently learned of an incident involving unauthorized access to guest information associated with certain hotel reservations. This incident occurred on the systems of Sabre Hospitality Solutions (Sabre), a service provider used by Trump Hotels. It did not affect Trump Hotels’ systems,” the statement read in part.

The statement continued, “The privacy and protection of our guests’ information is a matter we take very seriously, and we recommend that affected guests review the information in this letter for some steps they can take to protect themselves against potential misuse of their information.”

In addition to credit card info, hackers were able to gain access to guest names, email, phone numbers, addresses, and other information. No word on whether that was the case for the hacks at all 14 properties, but the company notes that Social Security numbers and passports were not impacted by the breach.

“We are working with Sabre to address this issue. We understand that Sabre engaged a leading cybersecurity firm to support its investigation. Sabre indicated that they also notified law enforcement and the payment card brands about this incident,” the statement continued. “We recommend that affected individuals remain vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by regularly reviewing account statements and monitoring free credit reports for any unauthorized activity.”

So why Trump properties, and why now? Peter Singer, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, thinks it’s more than a coincidence.

"Why are hackers targeting hotels? Well, because they're a good target," he said. "Then you look at Trump's hotels, and they're obviously a highly symbolic target."

John Christly, chief information security officer for network security provider Netsurion, concurs that hotels are a good target for hackers, as the industry has been lax on network security.

"These things can go undetected for several months to over a year," he said. "We're not seeing a lot of hotels focus on security the way we'd like them to, but with the proper technology, hacks like this can be stopped before they even happen."

We’ll assume that this breach will be the nudge that the hotel industry needs to shore things up. No word on whether those pesky Russians are to blame for the breach at the Trump properties.

Source: The Hill, LA Times
Photos: YouTube, Andrew Milligan Sumo\/Wikimedia, Pixabay, djackson_photos/Wikimedia, Tony Webster/Wikimedia

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