Consumers that stay in hotels may sleep soundly, but when they do, they have opened themselves up to a serious hacking threat.
Hotels are targeted by hackers looking for credit card information more often than any other industry, according to a new report in the New York Times. A study by a data-security consulting company found that 38 percent of all credit card hacking cases in 2009 involved hotels, while the financial services industry (19 percent), retail (14.2 percent) and restaurants and bars (13 percent) came in well behind.
One security expert told the paper that hackers zero in on hotels because the industry has a well-earned reputation for lagging behind others in terms of protecting, storing and transmitting its customers’ credit card data starting with the point of sale. He added that this information is available to hackers using even "the most simplified methods."
Those who travel a lot are more likely to fall victim to identity theft because of the infrequency with which they check their statements or their credit report. Because of this, hackers can get away with fraudulent charges for months before their victim notices a discrepancy.