Marriott announces data breach of Starwood Hotel database of 500 million guests

Business / Security / Tech

Marriott was alerted to the data breach on September 8, 2018, from a security tool when hackers attempted to access the database in the United States.

If you’ve ever stayed at a Starwood Hotel branded hotel your information may have been leaked. Marriott’s Starwood Hotel brand has suffered a data breach in which 500 million guests information may have been taken. Marriot International says they have taken measures to investigate and address the data security incident involving the Starwood Hotel database. So far it looks like the hackers accessed the database that contained guest reservations at Starwood properties on or before September 10, 2018.

Marriott was alerted to the data breach on September 8, 2018, from a security tool when hackers attempted to access the database in the United States. Marriott says of the 500 million names accessed, 327 million of them had their name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest number, date of birth, gender, itinerary, reservations, and communications preferences stolen.

Here is a portion of the statement released by Marriott International:

On September 8, 2018, Marriott received an alert from an internal security tool regarding an attempt to access the Starwood guest reservation database in the United States. 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. The company 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.

The company 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. The company has already begun notifying regulatory authorities.

“We deeply regret this incident happened,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves. We are doing everything we can to support our guests, and using lessons learned to be better moving forward.”

“Today, Marriott is reaffirming our commitment to our guests around the world. We are working hard to ensure our guests have answers to questions about their personal information, with a dedicated website and call center. We will also continue to support the efforts of law enforcement and to work with leading security experts to improve. Finally, we are devoting the resources necessary to phase out Starwood systems and accelerate the ongoing security enhancements to our network,” Mr. Sorenson continued.

Marriott has taken the following measures to try and help the guests affected by the Starwood Hotel data breach. They have set up a dedicated website and call center to assist those with questions. The company will start sending emails to all affected guests. The company is offering free WebWatcher Enrollment to affected guests. For more hit the link below.

What do you think of this data breach of Marriott’s Starwood Hotel brand? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Marriott
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