Marriott’s Starwood database hack potentially affects 500 million guests

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(RNN) - Marriott announced Friday a hack of its Starwood guest reservation database system.

The hack potentially affects the information of up to 500 million guests.

An investigation determined on Nov. 19 that there had been unauthorized access of reservations made on or before Sept. 10. A security investigation further revealed that there has been unauthorized access into the Starwood database since 2014.

“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,” the hotel chain said in a news release.

“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,” Marriott said. “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.”

Marriott has reported the incident to law enforcement.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has opened an investigation into the breach.

“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.”

To help consumers, the company is offering a dedicated webpage. Marriott will also email affected guests starting Friday, and will provide guests the opportunity to enroll in WebWatcher, a internet personal information monitoring service.

The Bethesda, MD,-based company boasts a portfolio of more than 6,700 properties under 30 hotel brands in 129 countries and territories

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