Hilton admits to credit card-stealing malware breach

Cronrat strikes Linux

The Hilton hotel chain has confirmed that its point-of-sale systems were compromised by a malware infection that put customers' credit card information at risk.

Threat actors gained access twice between 18 November and 5 December last year, and between 21 April and 27 July this year.

The malware revealed the names, security codes and card numbers of hotel guests, which may have enabled hackers to make fraudulent purchases.

Hilton says it has now eliminated the offending malware and is offering a year's worth of credit monitoring free of charge to those that think they may be affected.

However, the announcement came two months after the malware's discovery, leaving little option for consumers to attempt their own efforts at damage control.

Hilton is the second hotel chain this week to reveal a breach of their systems. The Starwood group also announced that its PoS terminals were hit by similar credit card-stealing malware.

Hot on the heels of these heinous hacks is news of yet more PoS malware. The recently-discovered ModPoS' exploit has been described by iSight Partners the security company which unearthed it as "PoS malware on steroids" which reportedly stole "multiple millions" of credit cards.

According to Mark Bower, global director of product management for enterprise data security at HPE, "the good news is that savvy merchants are already tackling this risk and giving the malware nothing to steal through solutions that also have a dramatic cost reducing benefit to PCI compliance."

"Encrypting the data in the card reading terminal ahead of the POS eliminates the exposure of live information in vulnerable POS systems."

"No live data means no gold to steal," he says. "Attackers don't like stealing straw."

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.