Business World

Sunday 24 March 2019

Half a billion guests could be impacted by major data breach of Marriott hotel database

A Marriott hotel in New York
A Marriott hotel in New York
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Half a billion people could be impacted by a breach in the Marriott hotel chain's booking database.

According to a statement from the group, people's personal information, used to book rooms at its Starwood properties - which it bought in 2016 - could be accessed.

Guests who have booked with the hotel group since 2014 could have their personal information, including credit card information, compromised in the cyber attack.

Marriott Hotels owns a number of hotel chains, including the Ritz-Carlton and the Sheraton.

Marriott-branded hotels use a separate reservation system on a different network.

Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and chief executive said the group deeply regrets the incident.

"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," he said.

"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 centre.

"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."

An investigation into the breach revealed that there was unauthorised access to the database on or before September 10, 2018.

Marriott has reported this incident to law enforcement and has already begun notifying regulatory authorities.

Personal finance expert, Laura Rettie from said that customers who were affected will be contacted, "however you should be super wary of anyone that says they’re from either the Marriott or your bank or credit card provider".

"Unfortunately, fraudsters might take advantage of this being in the news and use it to gain more personal information from you. Stay on high alert and if you’re suspicious hang up and call your bank or credit card provider directly. It’s worth checking old bank statements and keep a close eye on future ones in the coming weeks and months for any activity you don’t recognise."

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