The Marriott chain of hotels has been hit by a hack that could affect half a billion users, it has been revealed.
The company says its database of customer information, used to book rooms at its Starwood properties, has been accessed by unauthorised users for the last four years.
The information on the database included people’s credit card information. Marriott says the hackers may have stolen the keys needed to decrypt sensitive data.
A statement released by Marriott said: On September 8, 2018, Marriott received an alert from an internal security tool regarding an attempt to access the Starwood guest reservation database. Marriott quickly engaged leading security experts to help determine what occurred. Marriott learned during the investigation that there had been unauthorised access to the Starwood network since 2014.
“Marriott recently discovered that an unauthorised party had copied and encrypted information, and took steps towards removing it. On November 19, 2018, Marriott was able to decrypt the information and determined that the contents were from the Starwood guest reservation database.
“Marriott has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but believes it contains information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property.
“For approximately 327 million of these guests, the information includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences. For some, the information also includes payment card numbers and payment card expiration dates.”