Hackers launch cyber attack on UK hotel chain for ‘fun’

A couple of hackers claimed to have launched a cyber attack on UK Holiday Inn hotel chain owner Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) “for fun”, leading to massive disruption in bookings.

The company operates 6,000 hotels around the world, including the Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Regent brands.

After the attack, the hackers, who called themselves TeaPea, contacted the BBC via messaging app Telegram and provided screenshots proving they had carried out the hack.

The couple, who claimed to be from Vietnam, told the BBC they deleted large amounts of data after being prevented from conducting a ransomware attack.

“Our attack was initially planned as ransomware, but the company’s IT team kept isolating servers before we had a chance to deploy them, so we thought we had something funny [sic]. We ran a wiper attack instead,” one of the hackers was quoted as saying

A wiper attack irretrievably destroys data, documents and files with no possibility of recovery.

They said they were able to access the hotel chain’s database — Qwerty1234 — due to a weak password that turned out to be widely used.

The company’s servers were hacked on Monday last week after customers reported widespread booking and check-in problems.

The problem persisted for over 24 hours, after which IHG responded on Twitter that the company was “performing system maintenance.”

Later on Tuesday afternoon, the company confirmed that it had been the victim of a cyber attack.

“Booking channels and other applications have been significantly disrupted since yesterday,” reads an official statement filed with the London Stock Exchange.


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