Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 5-Marriott's Starwood hack hits up to 500 mln customers

Marriott International Inc said on Friday that hackers accessed up to 500 million customer records in its Starwood Hotels reservation system in an attack that began four years ago, exposing data including passport numbers and payment cards.

Shares fell 6 percent on news of the hack, one of the largest in history, which prompted regulators in Britain and at least five U.S. states to launch investigations.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was looking into the attack on Starwood, whose brands include Sheraton, St. Regis, W and Westin hotels. It advised affected customers to check for identity fraud and report it to the bureau's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The hack began in 2014, a year before Marriott offered to buy Starwood to create the world's largest hotel operator. The $13.6 billion deal closed in September 2016.

Some 327 million customer records containing information including passport details, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses were exposed, according to the company.

The hackers also accessed payment card data for an undisclosed number of customers, the company said.

"What makes this serious is the number of people involved, the intimacy of the data that was taken and the long delay between the breach and discovery," said Mark Rasch, a former U.S. federal cyber crimes prosecutor.

Some customers complained to Marriott on Twitter, where Starwood was among the top trending U.S. topics. They used terms including "duped," "angry" and "merger disaster" to express frustration over the incident.

Marriott said it learned of the breach on Sept. 8 when an internal security tool sent an alert about suspicious activity.

"We fell short of what our guests deserve," Marriott Chief Executive Arne Sorenson said in a statement.

Company representatives could not be reached to explain why it had taken so long to uncover the cyber nearly three months to disclose it to the public after suspicious activity was detected.

Attorneys general in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania said they would investigate the attack, as did the UK's Information Commissioner's Office.

"The public deserves to know how this happened," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

A representative with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission declined comment.

Marriott said it would inform affected guests about the breach starting on Friday, and that it had reported it to law enforcement and regulatory authorities.

The breach appeared to be the second-largest on record after one at Yahoo in 2013 that exposed all of its 3 billion user accounts. That breach cost $47 million in litigation expenses and prompted Verizon Communications Inc to cut $350 million off the price it paid when it acquired most of Yahoo.

Retailers Target Corp and Home Depot Inc each incurred costs of about $200 million after massive payment-card breaches in 2013 and 2014.

Marriott said it was too early to estimate the financial impact of the breach, though it would not affect its long-term financial health. The hotel chain said it was working with its insurance carriers to assess coverage.

Baird Equity Research said in a note to clients that breach-related costs, including legal fees, technical expenses and increased security, could force Marriott to delay the roll out of a new customer loyalty program planned for early 2019.

"Investor sentiment toward Marriott could remain somewhat negative in the near term until this security incident is fully resolved and its true financial impact is learned," Baird said.

The Hyatt breach highlights the need for companies to pay close attention on cyber security when making acquisitions.

"Understanding the cybersecurity posture of an investment is critical to assessing the value of the investment and considering reputational, financial, and legal harm that could befall the company," said Jake Olcott, a vice president with cybersecurity firm BitSight.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle in New York, Munsif Vengattil, Arjun Panchadar and John Benny in Bengaluru, Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Nick Zieminski)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Sentiment Analysis of Twitter users during COP 25: Governments losing trust on Climate Action

Sentiment analysis of Twitter users during COP25 in Madrid, being held from December 2-13, shows widespread fear on climate change due to global warming but almost no trust on governments in meeting the emission targets. In the analysis the...

These innovators are making humanitarian response more efficient

These alarming trends prompt a call for the world to not only address the ongoing crisis but also to adopt innovative approaches to fulfill the growing humanitarian needs in such emergencies. ...

Hyderabad Encounter: A sentiment analysis of public mood on day of encounter

Sentiment analysis of twitter users revealed that they showered salutes on Hyderabad police for eliminating alleged gang rapists of the veterinary doctor but only a few believe in cops version of successive events leading to encounter....

Hyderabad Encounter: Time to review modern judiciary and restore people’s confidence

Its probably for the first time in the history of independent India, the parliamentarians, chief ministers and ministers in the Union and State governments are openly supporting an encounter. This indicates the people from top to bottom hav...


Latest News

SC dismisses pleas seeking review of Ayodhya case verdict

The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a batch of petitions seeking review of its November 9 Ayodhya land dispute case verdict, which cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site.A five-judge bench headed by Chief Jus...

Administrative, financial approval given for 12 new nuclear reactors for power generation: Govt

The government has given administrative and financial sanction for 12 new reactors with a capacity of 9000 megawatt to expedite nuclear power generation in the country, Rajya Sabha was told on Thursday.During the Question Hour in the Rajya ...

CAB expected to set the tone for 2021 Bengal polls

The contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill is all set to determine the course of West Bengal politics in the days to come with the state bracing for a deeper polarisation between TMC and the BJP on communal lines ahead of the 2021 Assembly ...

MP minister backs Jat community's demand for ban on 'Panipat'

A Madhya Pradesh minister on Thursday supported the Jat communitys demand for a ban on the screening of Ashutosh Gowarikers film Panipat in the state, and said the government would take suitable legal steps in this direction. The Jat commu...

Give Feedback