Intercontinental Hotels Group reveals cyber attack on thousands of locations

Yet the lack of visibility of cyber-attacks could be stopping firms from understanding the threat level, broker says

Intercontinental Hotels Group reveals cyber attack on thousands of locations


By Lucy Hook

This week, UK-based Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel brands, revealed that around 1,200 of its franchises have been hit by a payment card-stealing malware.

The group warned guests that they could have had money stolen as a result of the malware, which is said to have been active at the hotels’ front-desk payment locations between September 29 and December 29, 2016, but was “definitely eradicated” last month, a BBC News report said.

Yesterday, a government report revealed that nearly half (46%) of British businesses had discovered at least one cybersecurity breach or attack in the past year, with the rate rising to two-thirds among medium and large companies.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017 found that most breaches involved fraudulent emails being sent to staff or security issues relating to viruses, spyware or malware.

Want the latest insurance industry news first? Sign up for our completely free newsletter service now

But while the threat to business is high, a “sizeable proportion” of companies still do not have basic protections in place.
Just one-third of the 1,500 firms surveyed had a formal policy covering cybersecurity risks, with less than a third having assigned a specific board member to be responsible for cybersecurity.

Henry Sanderson, broker at cyber-specialist Safeonline, told Insurance Business yesterday that a lack of visibility when it comes to cyber-attacks can hinder awareness of the threat level among businesses.

“Unfortunately with cyber you don’t necessarily see [the risks] like you would a hurricane, for instance,” Sanderson explained.

However, people are beginning to realise the potential damage to their reputation as a result of a cyber-attack, “and that is tangible – you can see the damage done,” he added.

High-profile attacks, such as the latest on IHG, are certainly helping to drive awareness, he said. “This is only going to increase, because people are attacked on a daily basis.”

Related stories:
Cyber: What can we learn from the Wonga data breach?
FCA to review competition, pricing practices in insurance sector 

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!