On Friday, Marriott International said that for 327 million customers who have stayed in their hotels, their personal information could have been compromised due to hackers illegally accessing their private information.
Apparently, this hacking of Marriott’s Starwood Hotels reservation database has been happening since 2014, and so for four years, upwards of 500 million guests could have been vulnerable to having their personal information exposed.
It’s being called one of the biggest data breaches in history.
The Marriott hack is one of the biggest data breaches in history. https://t.co/tkQAyeeRMk
— Vox (@voxdotcom) November 30, 2018
According to CNBC, this information could have included “passport details, phone numbers, and email addresses. For some others, it could include credit card information.”
“The company said it learned about the breach after an internal security tool sent an alert on Sept. 8. On further investigation, the hotel chain learned data had been hacked long before,” CNBC reported. “The company, which bought Starwood in 2016, said it had reported the incident to law enforcement and had begun notifying regulatory authorities.”
Anyone potentially affected by this breach would receive an email beginning Friday, the hotel company 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,” Marriott spokesman Jeff Flaherty told Reuters.
Mass hacking is unfortunately nothing new
These kinds of breaches are obviously not new, and certainly not unique to the hotel industry.
Hacking is becoming more common, not less.
Companies like Yahoo, eBay, Equifax, Target, dating sites – you name it – have all had to deal with how to protect their customers’ private information in an age where those who are technologically savvy can crack those safeguards.
You can never be too careful and as hackers get smarter, companies will simply have to find better ways to step up safety measures to protect their customers – or they could lose them.