Archive for February, 2014

White Lodge Investigates Data Breach, Card Fraud

February 8th, 2014

White Lodging Services, a hospitality company that manages 168 hotels in 21 states under Hilton, Marriott, and Sheraton brand names, is investigating a suspected credit and debit card breach. It has suspected 14 hotels along with some hotel restaurants and lounges where the possible breach happened at point of sales systems. It suspected below establishments.

  • Sheraton Erie Bayfront, Erie, Pa.
  • Marriott Midway, Chicago, Ill.
  • Holiday Inn Midway, Chicago, Ill.
  • Holiday Inn Austin Northwest, Austin, Texas
  • Westin Austin at the Domain, Austin, Texas
  • Marriott Boulder, Boulder, Colo.
  • Marriott Denver South, Denver, Colo.
  • Marriott Indianapolis Downtown, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Marriott Richmond Downtown, Richmond, Va.
  • Marriott Louisville Downtown, Louisville Ky.
  • Renaissance Plantation, Plantation, Fla.
  • Renaissance Broomfield Flatiron, Broomfield, Colo.
  • Radisson Star Plaza, Merrillville, Ind.

Information about the breach first came to notice when security journalist Brian Krebs reported, Marriott properties operated by White Lodging Services based in Merrillville, Ind was affected by the unnamed card processors tied to fraud involving hundreds of credit cards to a number of this property. He reported location of other affected hotels as Austin, Texas, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Louisville, Ky., and Tampa, Fla., among other cities.

White Lodge spokeswoman Kathleen Quilligan told The Times of Northwest Indiana, “An investigation is in progress, and we will provide meaningful information as soon as it becomes available,” White Lodge is owned by Dean White 90, whose Forbes estimation is $1.9 billion. His company manages 168 hotels under variety of brand names.

Hilton, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Spokesperson did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on apparent data breach. Marriot issued a statement later about the White Lodging Data breach which includes, ‘”One of our franchise management companies has experienced unusual fraud patterns in connection with its systems that process credit card transactions at a number of hotels across a range of brands, including some Marriott-branded hotels,” and it continued “They are in the midst of the investigation and are in close contact with the banks and credit cards companies.”

Marriot failed to share details immediately as per the statement as it says “Because the suspected breach did not impact any systems that Marriott owns or controls, we do not have additional information to provide,” and “Since this impacts customer of Marriott properties, we want to provide assurance that Marriott has a long-standing commitment to protect the privacy of the personal information that our guests entrust to us, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Alertsec has created a web based encryption service that radically simplifies deployment and management of PC encryption by using industry leading Check Point Full Disk Encryption (former Pointsec) software. Organizations, especially corporate giants, have to have an information security policy in place that proves they have taken necessary steps and measures to safeguard the information they gathered. If these policies are not adhered to, the regulators may prosecute.

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Big banks and retailers lock horns over Data breach

February 3rd, 2014


Target customers personal information of about 110 million was exposed during the data breach. It was notified by the Justice Department after suspicious activity involving payment cards used at Target stores. Also Neiman Marcus computer was attacked by hackers. It was notified late to the customers as company required confirmation for the breach.

Target Executive Vice President John Mulligan started his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee with an apology before blame game started between big banks and retailers. He stated during first part of hearing, “We know this breach has shaken their confidence in Target, and we are determined to work very hard to earn it back.” According to Mulligan, company hired its own independent team of experts to conduct a forensic investigation after the breach.

Personal information like credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, PIN numbers and codes on the cards’ magnetic strips was compromised after 40 million credit and debit card accounts of Target were breached late last year. Also non card information like names, phone numbers and email and mailing addresses of 70 million Target customers were also stolen.

Neiman Marcus computer was also affected by the breach. Michael Kingston, senior vice president of the Neiman Marcus Group said, “The malware was evidently able to capture payment card data in real time, right after a card was swiped, and had sophisticated features that made it particularly difficult to detect, including some that were specifically customized to evade our multilayered security architecture that provided strong protection of our customers’ data and our systems.”

FTC Commissioner Edith Ramierz and William Noonan, a top agent with the Secret Service’s cyber operations branch are expected to report the Senate Judiciary Committee following testimony from retailers.

With the seriousness involved in the breach data it is advised companies to put all security measures in place. Alertsec has created a web based encryption service that radically simplifies deployment and management of PC encryption by using industry leading Check Point Full Disk Encryption (former Pointsec) software.

Alertsec Xpress is used by organizations that have recognized the need to protect their information. Customers range from single-user sole traders and consultants to multinational companies with a large number of offices around the globe. Over 4 million users worldwide use Alertsec Xpress’s Check Point Full Disk Encryption.

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