Skift Take

The hotelier acquired Starwood brands in 2016 for $14 billion but it seems like since 2014 hackers were accessing data in guest reservation systems on millions of guests, including some passport numbers and credit card information. Will this be yet another setback for the broader industry effort to persuade consumers to share information in exchange for better service?

Marriott International Inc. has been investigating a hack involving unauthorized access to the guest reservation database at its Starwood unit since 2014, in what may be one of the biggest such data breaches.

The attack involved 500 million guests and included some passport numbers and credit card information.

Key Insights

  • Hack may rank only below Yahoo as one of the biggest of personal data. Yahoo suffered a 2013 security breach that exposed all 3 billion of its users at the time.
  • Attack troubling because of the amount of details potentially stolen by the attackers. In 2017 an attack on Equifax Inc. that may have affected about 143 million U.S. customers, also included social security numbers, birth dates, and credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers.
  • Regulators and consumers have been stepping up their action against companies who’ve suffered security breaches.

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  • Marriott database contained guest information relating to reservations at Starwood properties on or before Sept. 10, 2018. For about 327 million guests, the data included passport numbers, emails and mailing addresses.
  • For some, it also included payment card details, said Marriott, which didn’t identify who the perpetrators might be
  • Marriott said it reported the incident to law enforcement and continues to support their investigation. The company has already begun notifying regulatory authorities

Marriott said it had established a dedicated website and call center to answer customer questions about the incident, and would also begin emailing affected guests to notify them of updates.

The company hasn’t yet estimated a cost. It said it did not anticipate the breach to “impact its long-term financial health.”


©2018 Bloomberg L.P.


This article was written by Giles Turner and Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]


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Tags: cyber security, data breach, marriott, starwood

Photo credit: A photo of a Marriott property. Hackers breached data at its Starwood unit. Bloomberg

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