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Hotel Customers Warned Of Hackers

By Faye Mergel
Published: Monday, August 9th, 2010

24People who travel a lot and therefore make substantial use of hotels are warned of new methods hackers and thieves have recently been employing. It has been called to the attention of some that most thieves swarm at hotels and from there pinpoint or target their next victim. A report from Trustwave, a company on data security, revealed that this year, more than 35 percent of credit card hackings happened in hotels, or implicated the hotel industry.

The reason why hotels are the target is obvious – most of the rich stay in these places and are easy pools of prospects. More than that, the victims often do not notice that their information has been stolen until after several months have gone by. By the time the victim realizes what has happened; the perpetrator has already hidden with ease and has probably moved on to its next target.

Although most hotels boast of unparalleled physical security, few can totally and confidently claim that their information and data security is as strong. Such security varies from one hotel to another, making it easier for hackers to do their jobs. Security investigator Anthony C. Roman espouses that hotels are rich pools of credit card information. At hotels with inadequate security, credit information is stolen from thousands of people. He adds that the existing security in most hotels at present is so simple that even the simplest codes and / or methods are used by hackers to decode and steal information.

The rationale behind this phenomenon could be that with the economy going downhill, the hotel industry had the need to cut back on expenses. Unfortunately, the industry decided to not invest in data security. It is therefore expected that small-scale hotels, or hotels in smaller chains, would have less security than larger companies.

Although there is a large possibility that this notion is true, it is not always the case. Destination Hotels and Resorts, one of the more high-end hotel chains, admitted last month that some information may have been taken against their will, putting more than 700 of their patrons ill at ease and complaining at the expenses suddenly charged to their accounts.

As of late, the government as well as hotel industry managers seem to be at a loss in tracing who the hackers are, and have trouble predicting when they will strike. Still, the fact remains that this stealing of information happens with a consistency that leaves all the victims dumbfounded.

Trying to salvage this current terrifying trend, credit card companies, have been pressuring hotels to implement uniform standards for safety and security. Credit card companies have been losing income from this constant hacking, mainly because they are the ones caught with the bills of misused credit.

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