Cybercriminals took advantage of an open MongoDB database containing data from Choice Hotels and stole 700,000 customer records and then demanded a $3,800 ransom payment for their return.

The unsecured third-party database was first uncovered by Comparitech and security researcher Bob Diachenko, but despite quick action on their part informing Choice of the problem, malicious actors also found the database and removed the data and left a ransom note demanding 0.4 Bitcoin, or about $3,856. The database actually contained 5.6 million records, but Comparitech reported that Choice said the vast majority were test data.

However, 700,000 were true records containing customer names, email addresses, and phone numbers.

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