MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL DATA BREACH

Marriott International announced that it is notifying some of its guests of an incident involving a property system. The notice explains what occurred, the information involved, the measures taken by Marriott to investigate and address the issue, how Marriott is assisting guests, and steps guests can consider taking.

“Marriott has announced yet another breach, 16 months after their last. While this one is small compared to the previous breach – Marriott reports 5.2 million affected accounts – it highlights the fact that, even during a global pandemic, criminals will not stop attacking us. Even though no passwords, PINs, identity documents, or financial information was reportedly stolen, enough personal information was compromised that can be of use to identity thieves. This information can be used to lend credibility to phishing emails and increase their chance of success. Let’s not give cybercriminals an easy win during these unprecedented times – stay vigilant against their dirty tricks. They won’t rest, neither should we,” said senior security advisor at Sophos, John Shier.

Hotels operated and franchised under Marriott’s brands use an application to help provide services to guests at hotels. At the end of February 2020, the company identified that an unexpected amount of guest information may have been accessed using the login credentials of two employees at a franchise property. The company believes that this activity started in mid-January 2020. Upon discovery, the company confirmed that the login credentials were disabled, immediately began an investigation, implemented heightened monitoring, and arranged resources to inform and assist guests. Marriott also notified relevant authorities and is supporting their investigations.

Although Marriott’s investigation is ongoing, the company currently has no reason to believe that the information involved included Marriott Bonvoy account passwords or PINs, payment card information, passport information, national IDs, or driver’s license numbers.

At this point, the company believes that the following information may have been involved for up to approximately 5.2 million guests, although not all of this information was present for every guest involved:

  • contact details (e.g., name, mailing address, email address, and phone number)
  • loyalty account information (e.g., account number and points balance, but not passwords)
  • additional personal details (e.g., company, gender, and birthday day and month)
  • partnerships and affiliations (e.g., linked airline loyalty programs and numbers)
  • preferences (e.g., stay/room preferences and language preference)

Marriott is sending emails to guests involved. Marriott has also set up a dedicated website (www.mysupport.marriott.com) and call centre resources with additional information for guests. The call centre resources can be reached by calling the numbers listed on the dedicated website. The email sent to guests and the website also contain a list of steps guests involved can consider taking and information about enrolling in a personal information monitoring service that Marriott is providing.

Marriott carries insurance, including cyber insurance, commensurate with its size and the nature of its operations, and the company is working with its insurers to assess coverage. The company does not currently believe that its total costs related to this incident will be significant.