500 million guests affected by data breach at Marriott‘s Starwood unit

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said it’s investigating a hack of the guest reservation database at its unit that may be one of the biggest such breaches in corporate history. slumped 5.6 per cent in pre-market trading.

The attack is troubling not just because of its sheer size, but also the level of detail potentially stolen by the attackers. The hack affects some 500 million guests, and for about 327 million of them, the data included passport numbers, emails and mailing addresses, said. Some credit card details may also have been taken.

The may rank only below Yahoo as one of the biggest of personal data, when 3 billion users were exposed to a 2013 security breach.

Regulators and consumers have been stepping up their action against that have suffered security breaches as such attacks have increasingly become more severe. Target Corp last year agreed to pay $18.5 million to settle investigations by dozens of states over a 2013 hack of its database in which the personal information of millions of customers was stolen, while Equifax is facing billion-dollar law suits and a regulatory investigation.

“The breach is so big that the company may face a large fine from the authorities and the market is factoring that in,” said Juan Jose Fernandez Figares, chief analyst at Link Securities in Madrid.

“This is yet another company that has been hit by a and a reminder to any company that manages customers’s personal data that they need to work harder to protect them from future attacks.”

Marriott’s statement indicates the was going on years before the company acquired in a deal valued at about $13.6 billion that closed in September 2016. Marriott’s database contained guest information relating to reservations at properties on or before September 10, 2018.

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