Hacker couple topples British hotel group data

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By Nilanjan Dey

The hackers also claimed that they got attained access to the most sensitive parts of IHG’s systems using the company’s own internal password vault which they tout as “extremely weak”.

Intercontinental Hotels Group, a British hotel chain, was hacked by a Vietnamese hacker couple who deleted their data.

After deleting the data, the couple reached out to BBC boasting and explaining that they initially planned to do a ransomware attack but couldn’t achieve that so they ended up deleting the data from the company’s server.

“The company’s IT team kept isolating servers before we had a chance to deploy it,” they said.

Later, when they couldn’t use the ransomware they ditched that idea and hatched a new one. “We thought to have some funny (sic). We did a wiper attack instead,” one of them said.

So what is a wiper attack? A Wiper attack refers to a cyber-attack that irreversibly destroys info, digital documents and files.

The hackers also claimed that they got attained access to the most sensitive parts of IHG’s systems using the company’s own internal password vault which they tout as “extremely weak”. Although the group refused the claim as true the hacker couple send a few screenshots to BBC showing their hack which the group later confirmed as genuine.

Rik Ferguson, Vice-president of security at Forescout and a cyber-security expert said that the attack serve as a cautionary tale as even though the company’s IT team managed to keep the hackers away they were still able to damage the company’s data.

He also said that the actions of the hackers were vindictive at most as it shows they lashed out when they didn’t see an opportunity to make money. They also showed no remorse for what they did.

“We don’t feel guilty, really. We prefer to have a legal job here in Vietnam but the wage is average $300 per month. I’m sure our hack won’t hurt the company a lot.” said the hackers.

The hack affected the booking channels and other applications but has since been restored. IHG has said that even thought systems for customers are returning to normal services will still remain shut for a while.

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