Marriott suffers data breach involving 5.2 million guests

Marriott International has revealed it has notified millions of guests caught up in a data breach involving an app it uses for its hotels.

The notice explains what occurred, the information involved, the measures taken by Marriott to investigate and address the issue, how the company is assisting guests, and steps guests can consider taking.

Hotels operated and franchised under Marriott’s brands use an application to help provide services to guests at hotels.

At the end of February 2020, the company identified that an unexpected amount of guest information may have been accessed using the login credentials of two employees at a franchise property. Marriott believes this activity started in mid-January 2020.

Upon discovery, the company confirmed that the login credentials were disabled, immediately began an investigation, implemented heightened monitoring, and arranged resources to inform and assist guests.

Marriott said it also notified relevant authorities and is supporting their investigations.

At this point, the company believes that the contact details, loyalty account info, additional personal details, partnerships and affiliations, and preferences for up to approximately 5.2 million guests have been exposed.

However, the hospitality giant noted that not all of this information was present for every guest involved.

“Although Marriott’s investigation is ongoing, the company currently has no reason to believe that the information involved included Marriott Bonvoy account passwords or PINs, payment card information, passport information, national IDs, or driver’s licence numbers,” the company said in a statement.

“Marriott carries insurance, including cyber insurance, commensurate with its size and the nature of its operations, and the company is working with its insurers to assess coverage.

“The company does not currently believe that its total costs related to this incident will be significant.”

The data breach is rather small in comparison to the one Marriott suffered in 2018, which impacted 500 million of its Starwood customers. However, it couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the company battles to stay afloat during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Late last month, Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorensen was brought to tears detailing some of the hard choices he’s had to make in response to the impact of the pandemic.

Featured image credit: iStock/volkan.basar