Security Experts:

Travel Tech Giant Sabre Investigating Data Breach

Travel technology giant Sabre revealed that it has launched an investigation after detecting unauthorized access to sensitive information processed through one of its systems.

Southlake, Texas-based Sabre said in an SEC filing this week that it’s “investigating an incident involving unauthorized access to payment information contained in a subset of hotel reservations processed through the Sabre Hospitality Solutions SynXis Central Reservation system.”

The SynXis Central Reservation product is a rate and inventory management SaaS application used by more than 32,000 hotels worldwide.

The company has notified law enforcement and hired third-party experts to help investigate the incident. Security blogger Brian Krebs reported that Sabre hired Mandiant to assist its investigation.

In its SEC filing, Sabre said the attackers had been locked out of its systems. However, the company believes the investigation may reveal that the hackers had accessed personally identifiable information (PII), payment card data, and other information.

“While we don’t know the specifics of who had unauthorized access to the information and what tactics were used, we’ve seen from similar attacks that hackers gain access with co-opted credentials of someone with too much access,” Ken Spinner, VP of Field Engineering at Varonis Systems, told SecurityWeek.

“A breach of this magnitude underscores the need for SaaS services, especially those hosted on cloud providers, to increase their security posture capabilities at a faster rate,” said John Martinez, VP of Solutions at “Not all cloud-borne vulnerabilities are covered by traditional security tools; These threats require security tooling and services that are born in, and optimized for the cloud.”

This is not the first time Sabre has publicly admitted being targeted by hackers. Back in August 2015, the company confirmed investigating a cybersecurity incident following reports that it had been targeted by a China-linked threat actor.

Late last year, researchers warned that global distribution systems (GDS) from some of the world’s top service providers, including Sabre, were affected by vulnerabilities that could have been exploited by fraudsters to steal travel tickets.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.