The Holiday Inn’s parent company, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), suffered substantial booking interruptions last week when two hackers erased data from the company, according to a report by the BBC. IHG is a UK-based company, runs 6,000 hotels globally under the Regent and Holiday Inn brands, as well as Crowne Plaza.
The hackers, a couple from Vietnam, told the BBC that they did it just for fun and that their first plan was to launch a ransomware attack but they were stopped, so they wiped a sizable amount of data from the company.
The easy password Qwerty1234 allowed them to gain access to the FTSE 100 company’s databases. An analyst claims that the incident demonstrates the dangerous hackers’ spiteful nature.
“The company’s IT team kept isolating servers before we had a chance to deploy it.We thought to have some funny (sic). We did a wiper attack instead,” they said.
A wiper attack is a type of cyber-attack that permanently deletes files, data, and documents.
The most private areas of IHG’s networks, according to the hackers, were reached through a “very weak” internal password vault. The hotel chain has denied this assertion.
The couple provided screenshots of their hack to the BBC. IHG attested to the veracity of the pictures.
The hackers claimed they did not feel any guilt about the damage they perpetrated on the hotel chain.
“We don’t feel guilty, really. We prefer to have a legal job here in Vietnam, but the average wage is $300 per month. I’m sure our hack won’t hurt the company a lot,” they said.
According to a statement from IHG, the couple’s actions caused considerable interruptions in “booking channels and other applications.”
In the statement, the group also mentioned, “IHG has implemented its response plans, is notifying relevant regulatory authorities and is working closely with its technology suppliers. External specialists have also been engaged to investigate the incident. IHG is working to fully restore all systems as soon as possible and to assess the nature, extent, and impact of the incident. We will be supporting hotel owners and operators as part of our response to the ongoing service disruption. IHG’s hotels are still able to operate and to take reservations directly.”