Data Breach Reported by Hyatt Hotels Corporation: What You Can Do

n what is the latest in a string of unauthorized infiltrations upon systems for attempted access to the sensitive information of customers at hotel and resort properties worldwide, this official news release from Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced that a data breach had been discovered in that “it recently identified malware on computers that operate the payment processing systems for Hyatt-managed locations. As soon as Hyatt discovered the activity, the company launched an investigation and engaged leading third-party cyber security experts” to deal with this latest issue.

“Protecting customer information is of critical importance to Hyatt, and we take the security of your payment card data very seriously”, said Chuck Floyd — who is the global president of operations at Hyatt Hotels Corporation — in this official statement. “The investigation is ongoing, and updates will be posted…We have taken steps to strengthen the security of our systems, and customers can feel confident using payment cards at Hyatt hotels worldwide.”

The “malware” in question was reportedly a virus, which was discovered in the payment processing system of Hyatt Hotels Corporation on Wednesday, December 23, 2015.

Data Breach Reported Earlier This Year

Back in April of 2015, e-mail messages sent from the Hyatt Gold Passport frequent guest loyalty program stated that the password to the accounts of some of its members were reset due to access to a small number of accounts by “unauthorized individual utilizing member usernames and passwords.”

I was one of the members who might have possible been affected; but I had not noticed any unusual activity in my credit card accounts at this time. I still monitor them to this day.

What You Should Do

Closely scrutinize and review the account statements of the credit card which you used for payment; and if you detect any unauthorized charges, immediately report them to the financial institution which issued your card. Timely reporting of any nefarious activity with your card usually will ensure that you are not responsible for unauthorized charges and therefore will not be required to pay them.

If you believe that you might have been affected by this reported data breach and you have questions, you may call 1-877-218-3036 in the United States and Canada; or +1-814-201-3665 elsewhere internationally from 7:00 in the morning until 9:00 in the evening Eastern Standard Time.

To help reduce the chances of your frequent travel loyalty program account becoming compromised, consider following these steps:

  • Do not use your e-mail address as your user name or identification to log into different Internet web sites
  • Use a complex password and regularly update it
  • Use different credentials — passwords and user names, as two examples — to log in for each of your accounts in different frequent travel loyalty programs
  • Always check your account regularly
  • Promptly report any potential suspicious activity

Summary

I originally wrote in this article last month pertaining to the latest data breaches with Starwood Hotels an Resorts Worldwide, Incorporated and Hilton Worldwide that as we become increasingly dependent on technology for our everyday tasks, our sensitive information becomes more and more vulnerable; and my opinion has not changed: either companies are failing depute their best efforts; or they are just simply not diligent enough in protecting sensitive data.

Either way, I wonder if companies would be more vigilant if they would compensate customers every time their accounts were breached or their sensitive information stolen. If the answer is that they would go broke if that happened, that only further convinces me of the gravity of this technology problem and that better security measures need to be put in place.

These past articles written by me seem to illustrate how serious is this problem of protecting sensitive data from being breached — and it seems that no company is immune:

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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