In a recent survey it was found that 38% of credit card hacking cases happened at hotels. In its report, Spider Labs, which is a data-security consulting firm for Trustwave, confirmed this fact. For many of us who thought that most credit card thefts occurred at retail locations, this should be an eye opener. The hotel industry wants to keep the information away from the public, since the current recession has already cut deep into its revenues. The report also stated that because of the decline of revenue, many hotels are unable to upgrade their security which adds to the problem.
In a recent N.Y. Times article it went on to state that:
Why hotels? Well, to paraphrase the bank robber Willie Sutton, hackers hit hotels because that is where the richest vein of personal credit card data is. At hotels with inadequate data security, “the greatest amount of credit card information can be obtained using the most simplified methods,” said Anthony C. Roman, a private security investigator with extensive experience in the hotel industry.
“It doesn’t require brilliance on the part of the hacker,” Mr. Roman said. “Most of the chronic security breaches in the hotel industry are the result of a failure to equip, or to properly store or transmit, this kind of data, and that starts with the point-of-sale credit card swiping systems.”
ABC News reported that Destination had been victimized by “an intense database attack that lasted over three months,” and quoted law enforcement authorities saying that losses, which totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars, averaged $2,000 to $3,000 on each of the estimated 700 credit card numbers stolen.
Which brings up two things I do on a regular basis: I check my credit card statements several times a week looking for any suspicious activity; I also have a credit card I use when away from home that has a $1,000 limit. I also use this same card to make purchases on the Internet from various online merchants.
What do you do to protect yourself?