Travelodge blames ‘vindictive individual’ for email database breach

The Register, By John Leyden, August 5, 2011

Travelodge UK has confirmed that a customer database security breach was behind the recent run of spam emails to its customers. Customers complained in June after receiving spam messages punting suspicious-looking “work-at-home opportunities” to email addresses they only ever used to make reservations with the hotel chain. Travelodge admitted the incident, which it has repeatedly assured clients did not involve personal financial information. It promised to bolster its security, as well as referring the matter to data privacy watchdogs at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Travelodge assured customers at the time that it had not sold on its customer details, which left the possibility that the exposed email list has either been leaked or that the relevant database had been hacked. Reg reader Jeff, one of those exposed to the Travelodge spam, pressed the hotel chain for a fuller explanation, minus the corporate marketing speak. Jeff forwarded copies of a second work-at-home spam email, sent in mid-July, with his query. In reply, Jeff received an ambiguously worded statement from Travelodge (extract below) that suggests Travelodge’s email database was indeed hacked into prior to the distribution of the offending messages. Travelodge has thus far failed to respond to attempts to clarify whether the “vindictive” individual who had “access to an unencrypted section of our marketing database” was an external hacker or a disaffected or corrupt worker. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/05/travelodge_email_snafu/

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