Russian Mobsters Steal 8 Million Customer Records From Best Western

If you stayed at one of Best Western’s 1,312 European hotels since 2007, the Russian mafia now has your credit information! In a nightmarish globalization fairy tale come true, an Indian hacker successfully planted a virus in Best Western’s European computer systems that fed addresses, phone numbers, and credit card details to mobsters in Russia.

It is believed an Indian hacker succeeded in bypassing the security software and placing a Trojan virus on one of the firm’s machines used for reservations.

The next time a staff member logged in, his or her username and password were collected, stored then put up for sale on a website operated by a branch of the Russian mafia.

The stolen data includes a range of private information such as home addresses, telephone numbers, credit card details and place of employment.

Best Western fixed the security breach on Friday after being alerted by a Sunday newspaper, which had discovered the crime.

Best Western is “investigating further” and has temporarily handed control of their systems to its American team.

If you visited an affected hotel, you may want to immediately freeze your credit report and call your bank for replacement cards.

Hackers steal details of millions of Best Western hotel guests [The Telegraph]
Indian behind major cyber-crime in UK [Press Trust of India]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. timmus says:

    If you visited an affected hotel, you may want to immediately freeze your credit report

    How? I went to Equifax and all they have is these pay-by-the-month plans. I don’t want to pay $179 a year to freeze/thaw my reports. Do I have to submit this via writing like they say here? Grr.

  2. GyroMight says:

    The Mob is moving up, I miss the good old days where they just use to kidnap and murder.

  3. Byzantine says:

    This sounds like something out of a really bad James Bond movie.

  4. Parting says:

    You think that is bad, try BEDBUGS!!! It’s cheaper and less worrisome to freeze credit/make adjustments/report fraud, than dealing with those nightmarish creatures in your house, after a trip to a hotel….

  5. mariospants says:

    Question is: will Best Western make any attempt to notify possible victims and assist them in keeping their identity from being used by these mobsters??? Maybe they’ll “take it seriously”.

  6. kittenfoo says:

    the bedbug comment makes me glad that a vacation isn’t in the budget this year …

  7. Marshfield says:

    Marshfield is now feeling glad he didn’t go to Europe recently.

  8. dragonfire81 says:

    You vant your money back comrade?

  9. rinse says:

    Stop storing our information if you can’t keep it safe! >:(

  10. taking_this_easy says:

    @rinse: without storing your info, how can they charge you for the $100 in room service or stuff from the fridge or damages you made to the room before checkout?

    at least store info on customers from the last 3 months….. 1.5 years? another TJMaxx?

  11. TCameron says:

    And apparently they prefer the British pound to their native currency.

  12. Parting says:

    @TCameron: Duh! I prefer British pound to USA’s dollars, and I’m not a mobster :)

    Their value is much, much better.

  13. formergr says:

    Best Western fixed the security breach on Friday after being alerted by a Sunday newspaper, which had discovered the crime.

    For some reason I’m picturing some Parade-type publication. And how in the world was it that a newspaper discovered this and only let Best Western know via a published story, and not the authorities?

  14. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    Sounds like it might be fun to do the same to the mobsters. We can kick it old school and use Russian hackers though to keep it “at home.”

  15. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Russian mob, we had an altercation with them while in Hungary about a year ago…and now I come to find out they probably have my credit card information from the BW we stayed in there?

    /I thought I was done getting screwed by them…I guess not…

  16. usa_gatekeeper says:

    RE “… stayed ..since 2007, the Russian mafia now has your credit information!”

    I thought businesses were warned by CC companies (Visa, MC) not to store card holder info after the transaction was completed.

    Or does this come from regular customers storing their CC number on business websites to ‘expedite making reservations’? Hmmm, maybe it’s time to make sure I haven’t left CC info on any hotel, air, online purchase, etc., websites.

  17. Meathamper says:

    See? Russia isn’t that technically poor.

  18. 3drage says:

    If recent attacks are any indication, this is just the beginning.

  19. magnus150 says:

    someone call Niko Bellick

  20. emington says:

    @magnus150: too bad he was from the balkans and not russia.

  21. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    Damn ruskies. Donchu Ripmeov.

  22. holocron says:

    Um Frack. I stayed at BW’s in the Czech Republic and Austria this summer. Are you serious? Freeze my credit report? New cards?!?!

    Seriously?!?!

  23. magic8ball says:

    So as of now we’re assuming this applies to any BW, anywhere in Europe, any time since 2007? Yikes.

  24. ChuckECheese says:

    @timmus: You do not have to pay for a 90-day freeze. There may be a small charge for a longer freeze. You can do it by calling any one of the 3 bureaus–they are supposed to get the word out to the other bureaus.

    If you can, be sure to get a copy of your report BEFORE you freeze, because the bureaus may not give you one after the account is frozen without a hassle (although they are required to by law). I recommend doing the freeze by telephone.

    Finally, be sure to obtain a code from the bureau when you make the freeze, because you may need this information in order to access your report, or to let somebody else access your report.

    Back to your issue. It really ticks me off the way the bureaus make it so difficult to access the free info they’re required to give you by law. I’ve never dealt with so many click-throughs for for-fee services. They’re hoping you’ll get tired or anxious and cough up some dough.

  25. Sarcasmo48 says:

    @michaelleung:

    Nosir. The Russian mob are the same guys skimming credit cards from sketchy ATMs worldwide.

    Though I find it hilarious that the mob is outsourcing to India. Probably a Dell CSR making a little cash on the side…

  26. aikoto says:

    Crikey people. Every reader of this site should know about credit freezes by now. Here’s the data you need:

    [www.jeremyduffy.com]

    There’s no 90 day about it. Those are fraud alerts and they are worthless. And it’s not as easy to call them as people say. Check for the contact information on this site:

    [www.consumersunion.org]

  27. aikoto says:

    @ChuckECheese: The credit reporting companies make it hard so people will hopefully get frustrated and give up. They don’t WANT you to have a freeze because, even though it makes you far more secure, it means less money for them.

  28. Hongfiately says:

    Update: Best Western responds; calls story BS.

    [MarketWatch]

  29. spryte says:

    @Hongfiately: Love that they still got the “taking it seriously” bit in there :)

  30. usa_gatekeeper says:

    @Hongfiately: Kudos to BW for jumping on this.

    Good job of damage control. It did remind me that I should purge CC data that I had residing on several air travel, hotel, etc., sites.