Hyatt Just the Latest in Wave of Cyberattacks

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Hyatt Hotels Corp. (NYSE: H) announced Thursday that on November 30 it discovered malicious software designed to steal credit card data on computers that operate the payment processing systems for Hyatt-managed locations.

While Hyatt’s notice to customers did say that it has taken steps to strengthen its systems, it offered few other details about the investigation, such as how long the breach lasted, how many of the chain’s 627 hotels were affected or how many consumers may have had their card data compromised. “Customers can feel confident using payment cards at Hyatt hotels worldwide,” claimed a Hyatt spokesperson.

FireEye Inc. (NASDAQ: FEYE) reportedly has been hired it to help Hyatt investigate the attack.

Hyatt is the latest on a growing list of hotel chains similarly breached in the past year. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HLT) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT) last month disclosed attacks on their payment processing systems. And the Trump Hotel Collection, Donald Trump’s luxury hotel chain, also may have suffered such a data security incident.

The latest account from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that a total of 766 data breaches have been recorded this year through December 22, 2015, and that nearly 178 million records have been exposed.

In all of 2014, ITRC tracked 783 data breaches, which is up 27.5% compared with 2013 and represents a record since ITRC began keeping records in 2005.

Businesses account for over 16 million exposed records in 306 incidents so far in 2015, according to the ITRC. That represents 40.1% of the incidents and 9.1% of the exposed records. The medical/health care sector is the other main target, with 35.1% (269) of the total breaches so far this year. The number of records exposed in these breaches is approaching 122 million, or 68.4% of the total so far in 2015.

Coalfire, a leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services, predicts that in 2016 more CEOs and other executives will step down or be fired post-breach. Cybersecurity is no longer seen as an issue for IT departments to manage. It will come down to hiring and staffing, which falls on the shoulders of these executives.

Hyatt shares were down 1.5% to $48.59 in the slow trading on Thursday. The 52-week trading range is $45.71 to $61.99. The consensus analyst price target is $59.00.

Shares of FireEye were trading at $21.90, up 0.5%, with a consensus price target of $32.73 and a 52-week trading range of $19.76 to $55.33.