In Midtown Manhattan, getting a decent hotel room can be pricey, especially in the high-end buildings around the holiday season. And yet Motherboard cybersecurity reporter Joseph Cox managed to snag a luxury spot for $100 per night—less than half of the market rate—by tapping into a network of hackers who have created an underground market using stolen loyalty point accounts, employee discounts, and compromised industry insiders.
Cox investigated the burgeoning system firsthand and found out that these black market travel agents have set up shop on shady websites and marketplaces. They operate through secure messaging services like Telegram, and largely accept all transactions via Bitcoin.
On Wednesday's episode of The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast, Cox talked to us about his experience with the vendors, along with what went into writing his piece for Motherboard's hacking week.
You can catch The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast on Acast, Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.