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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Identity Thief Irene Hijacks Customer Database At Travelodge

Post by Peter McCalister August 15, 2011

I introduced you to Identity Thief Irene as an archetype for the type of insider villain who may already be infiltrating your extended enterprise a couple of weeks ago and guess what? Almost every day I see an article that represents “Irene” as manifesting in another company with some measurable harm that was newsworthy.

The latest set of articles I found refer to Travelodge UK who had the very embarrassing requirement to send out letters to their registered customer base apologizing for the recent bout of spam they were receiving because a critical database was hacked. The company’s twitter feed stated that they “had not sold customer records, meaning that the data breach was likely to have been the result of a cyber attack.”

TheInquirer.net reported that the letter, signed by Gary Parsons, the CEO of Travelodge said, “Our main priority is to ensure the security of our customers’ data, which is why I wanted to make you aware, that a small number of you may have received a spam email via the email address you have registered with us.”
“Please be assured, we have not sold any customer data and no financial information has been compromised.”

If you have anyone in your organization with excessive privileges (root on unix/linux servers or Admin on Windows desktops) then you run the risk of an outside hacker like “Irene” hijacking those credentials and gaining access to critical information assets. It is also important to have an in-place Database Activity Monitoring solution to log who is touching these assets and what they are doing in order to quickly remediate harm.

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