Trump Hotels Suffer Apparent Credit Card Breach

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Several financial institutions are reporting a pattern of fraud on credit and debit cards that had been used at Trump Hotels across the U.S., according to KrebsOnSecurity's Brian Krebs.

Affected locations appear to include Trump properties in Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

The breach appears to date back to at least February 2015.

"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," Trump Organization executive vice president of development and acquisitions Eric Trump told Krebs in a statement.

"We are committed to safeguarding all guests’ personal information and will continue to do so vigilantly," Trump added.

Krebs suggests that the recent flood of hotel credit card breaches, from White Lodging in February 2015 to Mandarin Oriental Hotels in March, may be an effort by cyber criminals to acquire credit card data before EMV technology is implemented in the U.S., making cards much harder to counterfeit.

"If reports of these data breaches are true, it would appear that Trump Hotels has a long way to go before it gets a top rating for data security," Protegrity CEO Suni Munshani told eSecurity Planet by email. "And unfortunately for consumers, the hotel and hospitality industry as a whole isn’t doing such a great job of securing their customers’ credit card data and other personal information."

And Netsurion CEO Kevin Watson said by email that any business that processes payment data or offers free Wi-Fi is inevitably an attractive target for cybercriminals. "Therefore, it’s essential that hospitality businesses take the necessary steps to protect customer data and ensure that stronger security measures are in place for their network, payment systems and on-premise Wi-Fi services," he said.

"Making those areas a priority now will allow them to focus on the core business of providing customers with exceptional dining, lodging, event and travel experiences during the busy summer travel season," Watson added.

A recent eSecurity Planet article examined possible solutions for improving credit card security, even to the point of creating a truly unhackable credit card.