Hotels Under Attack as Guest Data is Swiped from Front Desks

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Security researchers are warning of an information stealing malware campaign that has already impacted hotel guest data in 12 countries worldwide.

The RevengeHotels operation has been running since 2015 but recently expanded its presence this year, according to Kaspersky.

It refers to the activities of at least two groups, dubbed “RevengeHotels” and “ProCC,” which target hotel front desks with remote access Trojan (RAT) malware.

“The main attack vector is via email with crafted Word, Excel or PDF documents attached. Some of them exploit CVE-2017-0199, loading it using VBS and PowerShell scripts and then installing customized versions of RevengeRAT, NjRAT, NanoCoreRAT, 888 RAT and other custom malware such as ProCC in the victim’s machine,” explained the report.

“One of the tactics used in operations by these groups is highly targeted spear-phishing messages. They register typo-squatting domains, impersonating legitimate companies. The emails are well written, with an abundance of detail. They explain why the company has chosen to book that particular hotel. By checking the sender information, it’s possible to determine whether the company actually exists. However, there is a small difference between the domain used to send the email and the real one.”

Once malware has been installed, cyber-criminals could sell subscription-based access to the infected machine on the dark web. That means fraudsters could get access to guest details, including credit card data copied from online bookings during the charging process, Kaspersky warned.

Over 20 hotels in 12 countries have so far been confirmed with victims in Latin America, Asia and Europe. However, many others may have accessed the malicious link in the phishing emails, the Russian AV vendor claimed.

“As users grow wary of how protected their data truly is, cyber-criminals turn to small businesses, which are often not very well protected from cyberattacks and possess a concentration of personal data,” argued Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team, LatAm.

“Hoteliers and other small businesses dealing with customer data need to be more cautious and apply professional security solutions to avoid data leaks that could potentially not only affect customers, but also damage hotel reputations as well.”

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