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Clues From The News!

Hints For Business from Today's News Stories

Marriott breach impacts 500 million customers

Today (November 30) Marriott disclosed a large-scale data breach impacting up to 500 million customers who have stayed at a Starwood-branded hotel within the last four years. While details of the breach are still sparse, Marriott stated that there was unauthorised access to a database tied to customer reservations stretching from 2014 to September 10, 2018.

For a majority of impacted customers (approximately 327 million), the breached data includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences. For some of those guests, their credit card numbers and expiry dates were exposed - however, they had been encrypted using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-128).

The root cause of the breach is currently unknown, but Marriott indicated that the intruders themselves actually encrypted the information before stealing the data.

Starwood properties impacted include Westin, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Le Méridien, and other brands less well known in Australia. The list also includes The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, St. Regis, Aloft, Element, Tribute Portfolio, and Design Hotels.

Card holders should immediately change their hotel card password (if affected by these hotels), watch bank accounts, and very carefully check any email that appears to come from one of these hotels.

Management Memos has a lengthy article on this in the November issue. Read November again, here!

And what is your business clue from this news? You MUST protect the data you collect, and report breaches!

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