MGM Resorts Data Breach Hackers Dump 10.6 Million Guest Records Online – What Should You Do to Protect Yourself
The sensitive personal data of over 10.6 million hotel guests who stayed at MGM resorts was found online this week. Personal details of 10,683,188 MGM hotel customers including home address, full name, phone numbers, email address, and birthdate was exposed. For another 1300 guests, the personal data included driver’s licenses, passports, or military ID cards. It was reported the singer Justin Bieber was one of the millions of victims. The data was hacked in July 2019. Hacking groups GnosticPlayers is believed to be responsible for the cyberattack.
The data breach happened last year. A statement to ZDNet, MG Resorts stated, “Last summer, we discovered unauthorized access to a cloud server that contained a limited amount of information for certain previous guests of MGM Resorts.”
There are over ten million names on the list with some very high-profile people who also had their data hacked. According to ZDNet, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, singer Justin Bieber, Department of Homeland Security officials, Military, as well as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials are among those impacted by the data breach. Hundereds of thaousands of people come to Las vegas not only for the gambling but because it a major center for conferences and trade shows.
Previous Hotel Data Breaches
The MGM data breach is only a fraction of the size of the Marriot hotels data breach. In 2018 Marriot announced they had discovered a data breach that stole the information of over 500 million hotel guests. The data was stolen from the Starwood hotel chain that Marriot had recently acquired.
Hotel WiFi is Always Hackable
Although it is tempting to connect to free WiFi connections while you’re away from home can be tempting to use to save on data. Travelers often want to text their friends that they’re arrived or post photos on social media. Employees feel the need to reconnect with their office as soon as possible. Logging into any account while using public WiFi is always risky. Security when using any public network like that at hotels in Las Vegas is non-existent. But this holds true for any public WiFi connection. Even the WiFi in your hotel room is not secure from hackers and traffic sniffing. When you are checking emails, posting on social media, or logging into any online account your usernames, passwords, and anything else you typed in can be easily intercepted by hackers. This includes all of the photos, texts, and videos you send in private messages sent from the phone.
For most of the victims, the data posted online about them includes information that can be found in many places online already so it may seem like no big deal. No financial, payment card, or password data was stolen in the data breach but that doesn’t mean customers money is secure. But this is a treasure trove of information for further cyber attacks including spear phishing emails. Hackers often begin cyberattacks by going after less sensitive data to build a database of information about victims. That information can be used to send email scams, phishing emails, for tax fraud, or steal victim’s identity. When a hacker has specific information about a target, they can use that to craft personalized emails that sounds more convincing. When the victim feels they know the email sender or the content sounds familiar, they are more likely to follow the action that the hacker wants them to take – click on a link, download a file, visit a scam website.
Hackers send phishing emails, using information like job title, travel history, and names, scammed in data breaches. Phishing emails and targeted spear phishing emails are an especially common way for scammers and to gain access to high-value online accounts – like bank accounts and credit cards. If a hacker can gain access to an email account stolen in a data breach, they can use the email to reset passwords on any account that is attached to the email address. Since many people reuse the same password across multiple online accounts, a stolen email and password combination from a hotle loyalty account, may let the hacker into multiple other accounts.
Practice Good Cyber Security Habits
- Change your passwords – Change passwords for online accounts on a regular basis. Create a unique and strong password for each online account.
- Use a Password App – It is estimated that the average internet user has over 200 online accounts and apps. Using a password app can save you from having to create or remember for each one. Passwords apps can be synced across laptops and phones.
- Use Two-Factor Authentication – Use two-factor authentication to protect your apps and the data they contain. Two-factor authentication uses a second form of authentication – email, SMS text, phone call, key FOB – to confirm the identity if the user.
- Use Biometric Login Information – Use two-factor biometric login to protect phones, laptops, and tablets. If your phone so old that it does not have facial recognition or fingerprint scanning, the it may be best to upgrade to a new one.
- Set up credit monitoring – The people impacted by the MGM data breach may want to consider financial account monitoring and identity theft monitoring to protect themselves. Credit monitoring will tell if a new line of credit is opened using your name or if the limits on any of your credit cards has been increased.
- Set up Identity Theft Monitoring – Identity theft monitoring can alert you to fraudulent activity that occurs using your stolen credentials – this can include fraudulent tax returns filed in your name or medical fraud which can leave you responsible for large medical bills.
- Use an Antivirus App – Use an Antivirus App to Protect Your Laptop, Tablet, and Phone. Install a quality antivirus app BEFORE you need it. Paid subscriptions have the latest updates on recent malware.