500 Million people are at risk as Marriott confirms it has been hacked

Marriott International is easily the world’s biggest hotel chain and today they disclosed that unknown hackers have compromised their guest reservation database and its subsidiary Starwood. The Starwood brand includes St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Element Hotels, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels, the hackers have walked away with personal details of about 500 million guests including payment card numbers and payment card expiration dates.

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In a statement Marriot said

“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.”

Marriott have reported this incident to law enforcement and said that it continues to support their investigation. The company has already begun notifying regulatory authorities.

Marriott says

We have established a dedicated website (info.starwoodhotels.com) and call center to answer questions you may have about this incident. The frequently-asked questions on info.starwoodhotels.com may be supplemented from time to time. The call center is open seven days a week and is available in multiple languages. Call volume may be high, and we appreciate your patience.