These days it seems that there is a disturbing trend in which we are hearing more and more big companies getting hacked and having their customer databases stolen. We’ve seen this happen with Target, Cathay Pacific, and how can we forget Yahoo who suffered the biggest breach in the history of the internet.
However it seems that Marriott might not be too far behind because according to recent reports, the international hotel chain has announced that their Starwood reservation system had been hacked, and that the hackers have stolen the personal data of as many as 500 million guests who have stayed with the hotel chain and used its reservation system.
It is said that the attack actually began back in 2018 but it was only on the 8th of September earlier this year that an internal security tool alerted the company to it. Speaking to Reuters, Marriott spokesman Jeff Flaherty said, “We are still investigating the situation so we don’t have a list of specific hotels. What we do know is that it only impacted Starwood brands.”
This mod is particularly worrying as it contains a wide variety of information about guests beyond the standard email, names, and phone numbers. It also contains passport details, and for some, even credit card information. However oddly enough this stolen information doesn’t seem to have surfaced on the dark web.
According to James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, this suggests that the data could have been collected for intelligence purposes. “Usually when stolen data doesn’t appear, it’s a state actor collecting it for intelligence purposes.”