Wyndham Hotels and Resorts hacked again

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts (“WHR”) reports that it suffered a second hacking-related breach that it learned of while still dealing with a 2008 breach (see previous coverage). In a letter [pdf] dated August 21 to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, Wyndham indicates that 201 residents of New Hampshire were affected by the latest incident:

During the on-going remediation process of the 2008 incident, in mid-May, 2009, WHR received notice of potential fraudulent use of credit cards in which one of its properties was identified as the Common Point of Purchase. As with the first incident, WHR retained a Qualified Investigative Response Assessor to conduct a thorough investigation, which is virtually complete at this time.

In August, WHR sent notifications to those affected. In their letter, they write:

This incident was identified when Wyndham received information that certain fraudulent credit card transactions were possibly traced back to one of our hotels. Upon learning of this possibility, Wyndham promptly retained an external examiner to conduct a thorough forensic investigation. The Wyndham investigation, which is now substantially complete, confirmed that a sophisticated hacker penetrated our computer systems; thereafter, the hacker was able to access the customer transaction files at a number of Wyndham hotels and create a unique file containing credit card numbers of certain hotel guests. In addition, the hacker was able to download transactional information that was captured by the memories of servers at certain hotels on a real-time basis for transactions that occurred between March 29, 2009 and May 10, 2009.

As a result of the investigation, Wyndham has determined that your credit or debit card number, expiration date and possibly your name were accessed. Further, magnetic stripe information from your credit card may have been accessed, depending upon whether the hotel swiped your card for a transaction or manually entered your credit card number, although, due to the sophisticated nature of the hack, we have not been able to determine precisely what magnetic stripe information, if any, was accessed. The hotel’s computer system did not store your Social Security Number, so fortunately the hacker did not access such information.

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