Biggest ever travel industry attack

Up to 500 million travellers may have had their data stolen in a massive cyber attack on Marriott-owned hotels.

The attack is the biggest ever made on a travel industry entity and mainly affects anyone who has made a reservation at a Starwood hotel.

Marriott cannot rule out credit data, addresses, passport numbers and passwords having been stolen.

“We deeply regret this incident happened,” said Marriott chief Arne Sorenson. “We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves.”

To make matters worse for the accommodation giant, a class action on behalf of the 500 million customers affected has been launched.

The Starwood hospitality group operates Sheraton, Westin, Aloft, and W Hotels brands, as well as many others. Marriott claims that its own hotel brand has not been affected.

The attacks seem to have taken place over four years. Anyone who has stayed in a Starwood hotel has been advised to log in and change passwords, and to monitor their finances for suspicious activity.

According to a statement made by Marriott:

“The company has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but believes it contains information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property. 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. 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.

“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. For the remaining guests, the information was limited to name and sometimes other data, such as mailing address, email address, or other information.”


Have you ever stayed at a Starwood hotel?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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