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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Netherlands. An American spy hacked into Booking.com’s systems, and the company concealed it

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The booking details of thousands of customers in the Middle East have been stolen from Booking.com. As revealed by the “NRC” daily, in 2016 a hacker associated with the American intelligence services broke into the website’s system. The newspaper indicates that customers and the Dutch Personal Data Protection Authority (AP) were not informed about the attack from years ago.

It was a coincidence that it was discovered that there was a break-in. A security officer at headquarters in Amsterdam was about to discover that an unknown person had accessed the systems through a poorly secured server.

Break-in into Booking.com systems

“The company’s security specialists exposed the cybercriminal as a person closely associated with the US intelligence services,” the newspaper reads. It happened thanks to the help of private detectives from the USA. Booking.com was also supposed to ask the Dutch intelligence service (AIVD) for help on the matter.

“Data security is our top priority and we are constantly modernizing our systems to protect our customers and partners,” a spokesman for the company told NRC.

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The newspaper points out that the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) and customers were not informed about the attack from years ago. The answer given by the concern shows that it believes that it was not obliged to submit the notification because “the break-in did not have negative consequences for customers”.

Experts quoted by the journal are of the opposite opinion. How can a company assume customers won’t be bothered by snooping? Asked Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, professor of law and information society at Leiden University.


Fine for Booking.com

At the beginning of this, the AP imposed a fine of 475,000 on Booking.com. euro for late reporting that criminals have stolen personal data and credit card details of 4,000 customers.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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