Emerging Threats

Massive data breach hits hospitality giant. 500 million guests affected — Here’s what you can do

A large hotel brand announced one of the largest corporate data breaches in history. The company’s guest reservation system was hacked, potentially exposing the personal information of up to 500 million guests.

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The exposed personal information includes some combination of name, mailing address, email address, date of birth passport numbers, and other information that could expose individuals to the risk of identity theft.

Am I affected by the data breach?

About two thirds of the customers are affected by this breach. If you are customer, there is good chance that you may be affected. The company began sending emails to customers affected by this breach on a rolling basis on November 30, 2018. The email would not contain attachments or requests for personal information, including passwords. Be on the lookout for such an email. It may take a while to receive such an email since 500 million is huge number.

Now that I know I am affected, what should I do?

The company advised its affected customers to monitor their accounts and bank statements for suspicious activity. It also warned that hackers could use the breach information to launch phishing attacks.

Here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself if you think this data breach may have exposed your information.

  • Change any passwords that use the same login information as those used in your hotel accounts.
  • Watch for communications from companies that had recent data breaches
  • Monitor news reports about this breach, watching for new developments.

What could go wrong?

Cybercriminals could commit a variety of crimes using the stolen data. For instance, sensitive information like date of birth, address, passport numbers, can be combined to create fake IDs. The IDs could then be used to commit other crimes. Also, personal information can be sold on the dark web, and identity thieves could wait months, or even years, before using the stolen information.

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With the kind of information that has been breached there is a lot of things cybercriminals can do with the stolen data. Sensitive information like date of birth, address, passport numbers, can easily be patched up to create fake ids and use that to commit other crimes.

There isn’t much you can do to prevent a data breach. Once your information is given away to an organization, you can have no control over it. Cybercriminals may be able to access it.

But there are things you can do to help protect yourself in other ways. It’s a good idea to consider investing in a comprehensive cyber safety product to help protect your devices and personal information.

What else can I do?

If you live outside the U.S. or EU, you should find out what rights your jurisdiction gives over your personal data. Marriott has a call center to help answer your questions in multiple languages. Click here for more information.

Your privacy at stake

With the advantages of living in a connected world comes the disadvantage of losing your privacy to bad actors. Cybercriminals target the travel and hospitality industry as they try to take advantage of travelers who may not be vigilant to the risks.

With millions of people getting affected by data breaches all over the world, it helps to be aware of what precautions to take when going online.

Norton Security helps protect your devices and the information on them. It provides real-time protection against existing and emerging malware, ransomware and viruses. Norton Secure VPN encrypts the information you send and receive when using public Wi-Fi.

Norton Secure VPN also enables you to browse more anonymously and access your favorite content anywhere with bank grade encryption. Now you can pay bills, check your email, and interact on your social network — in a cafe, airport or hotel — while remaining more sure that your most sensitive information and online activities remain hidden from prying eyes. You can also enjoy your favorite apps and websites, and stream content on the go.

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Disclaimers and references:
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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