Luxury hotels belonging to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump have been hacked
The card processing system at the Trump Hotel Collection, a chain of luxury hotels owned by billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, have reportedly been hacked.
The hack led to a pattern of fraudulent debit and credit card charges on people’s accounts used at Trump hotels.
The revelation that the credit card system at Trump Hotels has been compromised was made by security reporter Brian Krebs, after data of the breach was shared by several US-based banks.
The Trump organisation eventually acknowledged the situation in a statement from Donald Trump’s third child, Eric Trump, executive VP of development and acquisitions.
“Like virtually every other company these days, we have been alerted to potential suspicious credit card activity and are in the midst of a thorough investigation to determine whether it involves any of our properties,” reads the statement. “We are committed to safeguarding all guests’ personal information and will continue to do so vigilantly.”
The breach is all the more damaging, because the compromise reportedly extends as far back as February this year. It is unknown at this time how many customers have been affected.
The hack comes as the United States seeks to make it tougher to compromise credit card payment systems by making credit and debit cards more difficult and expensive to counterfeit.
Currently, many non-chip cards in the United States store cardholder data on a magnetic stripe, which can be easily copied and re-encoded onto virtually anything else with a magnetic stripe.
But by October 2015, merchants in the US that have not already installed card readers that accept chip-based cards will assume responsibility for the cost of fraud from counterfeit cards.
This means that there is a bit of rush by fraudsters at the moment to try and exploit the outgoing magnetic-stripe cards whilst they still can.
Famous Card Breaches
There have been a number of well-known card payment system breaches in recent years. Perhaps the most famous was the breach at Target, one of the biggest retailers in the US, where hackers were able to install malicious software on the cash registers.
Target reported on 19 December, 2013 that about 40 million payment card accounts had been hacked during the pre-Christmas shopping season. Later in an update, it admitted that about 70 million customers had their addresses, phone numbers and other information compromised.
In 2014, two US banks filed a lawsuit against security firm Trustwave, accusing it of failing to identify vulnerabilities at Target. That lawsuit was subsequently dropped.
Target did agree this year to pay $10m (£6.7m) to settle a different class action lawsuit.
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