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30 November 2018

Marriott data breach. 500 million customers and many fields.

It has been reported that the Starwood division (W Hotels, Sheraton, Le Meridien and Four Points by Sheraton) of Marriott has uncovered a huge data breach.

Breach fatigue is becoming a real issue, along with the question of whether any personal data is still private.

We're going to need a step change in the effectiveness of security controls to stop these breaches from happening.

It is suggested that an attacker has been able to access their network since 2014 and had "copied and encrypted information" over that time.

The announcement says that the attack was stopped on 10th September 2018, after an alert from an internal security tool on 8th September. Clearly questions will be raised around why details are only being published now - 11 weeks later. The reason appears to be that the data was only unencrypted on 19th November - 11 days ago.

A large portion (over 300m records) of the data is thought to include:

We understand that Marriott is working with the police in several countries and the UK ICO.

Marriott has also set up a dedicated website and call center, email notification for affected guests and free WebWatcher alerts for guests for a year.

We think they could have done with data protection advisory services from DataGRC and the Data Sentinel online Data Protection training, Records Management and Compliance Assessment tools.

See the Marriott announcement here

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