Hospitality franchisor Choice Hotels, the parent organization of those franchise chains, has confirmed a breach in which attackers stole 700,000 guest records from a publicly available MongoDB database without a password or any authentication.
The affected data includes full names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers. No credit cards, passwords or Social Security numbers were compromised. The database held 5.6 million records. However, Choice Hotels told sources that the majority of the records were “test data, not associated with real people.” The database was left exposed for four days after it was first indexed by search engine BinaryEdge.
The malicious actors left a ransom note demanding 0.4 Bitcoin equal to $3,856. Security experts believe that the note was left by an automated script targeting publicly accessible MongoDB databases.