10/22/2019
01:20 PM

Autoclerk Database Spills 179GB of Customer, US Government Data

An open Elasticsearch database exposed hundreds of thousands of hotel booking reservations, compromising data from full names to room numbers.



Security researchers have detected a leak in an Elasticsearch database belonging to Autoclerk, a reservations management system recently acquired by Best Western Hotels and Resorts Group.

The 179GB database was linked to multiple online travel and hospitality platforms. This leak exposed personal data and travel arrangements of thousands of hotel guests and members of the US government, military, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), vpnMentor reports. A team led by Noam Roten and Ran Locar call it a "massive breach" of government security.

It was difficult to pinpoint the database's owner due to the sheer amount of data exposed and number of external origin points, the team says in a writeup of their discovery. Autoclerk is a reservations system for hotels, accommodation providers, travel agencies, and other companies. It includes server- and cloud-based property management systems, an online booking engine, central reservations systems, and hotel property management systems. The database vpnMentor discovered was connected to several hotel and travel platforms mostly based in the US.

Much of the data came from these external property management systems, booking engines, and data services in the tourism and hospitality industries including HAPI Cloud, OpenTravel, myHMS, CleanMeNext, and Synxis. They used the database owner's platform to interact.

This leak compromised travelers all over the world. Autoclerk's database held hundreds of thousands of booking reservations, which contained data including full names, birth dates, home addresses, phone numbers, dates and costs of travel, and masked credit card details. Guests who had checked into a hotel had the check-in time and room number exposed.

One of the compromised platforms was a contractor for the US government, military, and DHS that manages travel for government and military personnel. The leak exposed personally identifiable information of employees and travel plans, including logs for US army generals going to Moscow, Tel Aviv, and other places, along with email addresses and phone numbers.

Read more details in vpnMentor's post here.

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