Hackers hit Westin Snowmass

People staying at the Westin Snowmass Resort last winter may have had their credit cards compromised as a result of a hack of its parent company’s payment systems.

The local hotel was hacked along with 20 Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott, Westin and other hotels in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the hotel operator HEI Hotels and Resorts, malware put into place in at least 20 locations may have collected names, payment card account numbers, card expiration dates and verification codes.

The company’s website says the dates the Snowmass Village hotel may have been hacked are Dec. 26, 2015, to April 10, 2016.

Anyone who used a card at the Snowmass Westin in that time frame should review their account statements and look for discrepancies or unusual activity, both over the past several months and going forward, the company said. Customers who notice anything out of place should contact their credit or debit card issuer.

A hotel chain spokesman told Reuters that the malware was discovered in June. Payment systems impacted included spas, bars, restaurants, lobby shops and other facilities.

“We are treating this matter as a top priority, and took steps to address and contain this incident promptly after it was discovered,” HEI said in a press release.

Customers can visit www.heihotels.com/notice for a list of affected hotels nationwide and additional information about the incident.

HEI said that once it found out about the problem it transitioned payment card processing to a stand-alone system that’s completely separate from the rest of its network. It disabled the malware and is in the process of reconfiguring various components of its network and payment systems to make them more secure.

The company says the breach has been contained and customers can safely use cards at all its properties. It said it continues to cooperate with a law enforcement investigation and is coordinating with banks and payment card companies.

As with any breach, consumers are not liable for fraudulent charges on their credit cards. And once a breach such as this is disclosed, as a precaution, banks will often automatically issue new cards to any of their customers that could be affected.

Retailers and other companies that deal with large numbers of credit cards have become popular targets for hackers looking to make a quick buck by collecting and selling the information on the internet in bulk.


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