Marriott Data Breach Affecting Up To 500 Million Hotel Guests

Marriott has taken measures to investigate and address a data security incident involving the Starwood guest reservation database. 

Marriott has said there has been a massive database breach affecting up to 500 million guests of its Starwood hotels.

They have reported this breach to the relevant law enforcement, and have begun notifying regulators.

Marriott has issued the following statement :-

Marriott values our guests and understands the importance of protecting personal information. We have taken measures to investigate and address a data security incident involving the Starwood guest reservation database. The investigation has determined that there was unauthorized access to the database, which contained guest information relating to reservations at Starwood properties on or before September 10, 2018. This notice explains what happened, measures we have taken, and some steps you can take in response.

On September 8, 2018, Marriott received an alert from an internal security tool regarding an attempt to access the Starwood guest reservation database. Marriott quickly engaged leading security experts to help determine what occurred. Marriott learned during the investigation that there had been unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014. Marriott recently discovered that an unauthorized party had copied and encrypted information, and took steps towards removing it. On November 19, 2018, Marriott was able to decrypt the information and determined that the contents were from the Starwood guest reservation database.

Marriott has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but believes it contains information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property. For approximately 327 million of these guests, the information includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences. For some, the information also includes payment card numbers and payment card expiration dates, but the payment card numbers were encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard encryption (AES-128). There are two components needed to decrypt the payment card numbers, and at this point, Marriott has not been able to rule out the possibility that both were taken. For the remaining guests, the information was limited to name and sometimes other data such as mailing address, email address, or other information. Marriott reported this incident to law enforcement and continues to support their investigation. We have already begun notifying regulatory authorities.

Marriott deeply regrets this incident happened. From the start, we moved quickly to contain the incident and conduct a thorough investigation with the assistance of leading security experts. Marriott is working hard to ensure our guests have answers to questions about their personal information with a dedicated website and call center. We are supporting the efforts of law enforcement and working with leading security experts to improve. Marriott is also devoting the resources necessary to phase out Starwood systems and accelerate the ongoing security enhancements to our network. Guest Support

Marriott has taken the following steps to help guests monitor and protect their information: Dedicated Call Center

Marriott has established a dedicated call center to answer questions you may have about this incident. The call center is open seven days a week and is available in multiple languages. Our dedicated call center may experience high call volume initially, and we appreciate your patience. Email Notification

Marriott began sending emails on a rolling basis on November 30, 2018 to affected guests whose email addresses are in the Starwood guest reservation database. Free WebWatcher Enrollment

Marriott is providing guests the opportunity to enroll in WebWatcher free of charge for one year. WebWatcher monitors internet sites where personal information is shared and generates an alert to the consumer if evidence of the consumer’s personal information is found. Due to regulatory and other reasons, WebWatcher or similar products are not available in all countries. Guests from the United States who complete the WebWatcher enrollment process will also be provided fraud consultation services and reimbursement coverage for free. Click on your country, if listed, to begin the enrollment process.

Technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

Jason Davies

Technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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