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Posted on 12/07/2017 by Charlotte

Over the last year, Trump has been at the centre of all sorts of scandals, publicity and discord. Despite being elected as the President of the United States, issues still seem to be following in the mans footsteps. Trump has spent his years trying to build up an empire, and this month yet another blow has been struck to damage it. We’re talking, of course, about news of a cyber attack which targeted Trump Hotels, leaving their system open for hackers to plunder for credit card information. But what happened, and what could this mean for the POTUS?


What Happened?

Earlier this year, cyber criminals targeted Trump Hotels and went digging for credit card information, names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, passports, drivers licenses – basically anything needed to make a room reservation. The attack is confirmed to have affected 14 properties within the chain, including Trump Central Park, Trump Chicago, Trump Las Vegas and Trump DC. These attacks did not happen simultaneously, but instead between November 2016 and June 2017 – a staggering amount of time for a cyber attack to be left undisputed. The luxury chain has only just confirmed that this prolonged hack happened, stating that the issue only affected those customers who booked using the hotel’s third party boking system, known as Sabre Hospitality Solutions. So while any guests who booked with the hotel directly were not at risk, and the attacks did not directly affect Trump Hotels’ systems, it was only this chain that was affected. A spokesman has stated that ‘the privacy and protection of our guests’ information is a matter we take very seriously’ and that they were ‘working with Sabre to address this issue’.


Lessons Not Learnt

But this isn’t the first time that the chain has been the target of cyber attack. In fact, Trump Hotels guests have had their personal details put at risk by Trump Hotels twice before – once in July 2015 and again in April 2016. These attacks led to the company being fined $50,000, not for not protecting their digital assets, but because they waited months before notifying customers that their credit cards had been compromised. Now that’s service!


So it seems that Trump Hotels haven’t learnt their lesson from previous years, and have left themselves open to yet another attack. In the wake of the third sustained cyber attack within 2 years, the conglomerate is now looking into bolstering their own cybersecurity capabilities. As if to prove the point, an investigative report conducted by American non-profit ProRepublica and tech publication Gizmodo published in May reveals that the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida (where one of Trump’s hotels is located) is particularly vulnerable to cyber attack – and proved it by sailing a 17 foot motor boat 800 foot from the resort with antenna in tow, harvesting data.


In general, hotels and the hospitality industry offer up a prime target for hackers. This industry sector deals in high volumes of sensitive data every single day, with financial data being exchanged every few seconds. This industry also tends to have lacklustre security measures in place, often due to cost or a desire to allow their guests freedom of Internet use. Cyber criminals view hotels as rich pickings, and over the years there have been numerous high level breaches including the Hard Rock Hotel. There has even been malware specifically designed to infiltrate casinos and resort hotels – RawPOS first struck in late 2008, targeting establishments in the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, and even now experts are largely in the dark about how it worked.


At the end of the day, there are some industries that require more protection than others, and this attack just highlights the fact that the hospitality industry is one of them. Whether Trump Hotels will learn from this latest attack and shore up their systems, we will see in time, but we can hope this will be the final reminder they need. For more information about how you can protect your business from hackers and cyber-attacks, get in touch with us today

Posted in Opinion
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