Holiday Inn On Hacks Cross : Study
Holiday Inn On Hacks Cross : Study. Earlier this month, it was reported that Holiday Inn owner Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) were hacked. The group of hackers deleted the hotels data.
Specifically, as mentioned by BBC, hackers “gained access to IHG’s internal IT network by tricking an employee into downloading a malicious piece of software through a booby-trapped email attachment.” In other words, hackers possibly sent a phishing email to hotel’s employees that contained a link to a malicious website. Then, employees downloaded the malware which allowed hackers access their computers. At this point, holiday inn on hacks cross having an internal firewall or anti-malware software on employee’s computer could trigger alerts and delete any malicious software.
Another important point is how hackers gained access to the credentials needed for the internal network. According to BBC, “The username and password to the vault was available to all employees, so 200,000 staff could see. And the password was extremely weak”. This is another security weakness that many of us do not pay attention to: exposed and weak passwords.
The first point is that password vault was not protected. Having a password vault accessible by all employees is really not the best way to store credentials. Access control policies should be in place to restrict access to confidential information. In the case of this organizations, it seems that no security controls existed to protect the internal password vault.
The second point is that passwords for internal systems were weak. Specifically, employees have used one of the most common passwords for accessing the systems. However, holiday inn on hacks cross in a matter of minutes, using brute force attacks, could easily guess the password. That is common in many organizations because people avoid using something they can’t easily remember. However, users and especially administrator should use complex passwords for their credentials. A password generator software could help them to create a complex password and probably stop hackers.
The above story show us a chain of steps that hackers usually follow to gain access to systems.
- Initially, they try to steal information by sending phishing emails.
- Along with the phishing email, they distributed a malware to allow them access internal computers.
- The next step was to find the credentials used to access the database with company’s information. As the password vault was accessible, credentials were easy to find them.
- There was an extra layer of security with 2-Factor Authentication enabled in employee’s account. We assume that as hackers had access to employee’s computer, it was easy to bypass this line of defense.
In conclusion, the steps followed by hackers were not very complex to gain access to the systems. Implementing some extra security measures could possible help to avoid this data breach.
Generally, hackers always try to get into organizations by using various attacks. Understanding the way that cyber attacks work, as we explained in our posts Part I and Part II, will help to build better lines of defense.