Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operational Security //

Data Leakage

// // //
1/4/2019
02:30 PM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now

Marriott Revises Data Breach Numbers as Investigation Continues

Marriott has revised the number of customer accounts it believes were affected during a massive data breach. While the overall number dropped, the company now believes 5 million unencrypted passport numbers were exposed.

Marriott is still coming to grips with a massive data breach that affected millions of the company's Starwood customers, and the company is now offering further details on what records have been exposed.

First, the good news: In a January 4 release, the company stated it now believes that instead of the original 500 million accounts compromised during the breach, there were actually fewer than 383 million Starwood customer accounts involved.

Marriott also notes: "This does not, however, mean that information about 383 million unique guests was involved, as in many instances, there appear to be multiple records for the same guest."

(Source: iStock)
(Source: iStock)

The compromised data includes guests' mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, Starwood Preferred Guest ("SPG") account information, dates of birth, genders, arrival and departure information, reservation dates and communication preferences. The entire incident remains under investigation by Marriott, several security firms and law enforcement, and how exactly the breach happened remains a mystery.

Still, the update included some bleak news. Specifically, the hotel chain did find that 5.25 million unencrypted passport numbers were stolen during the breach, and that whoever was behind the attack also accessed about 20.3 million encrypted passport numbers, as well. Marriott believes that the master key to decrypt those numbers remained secured.

Finally, the company is estimating that 8.6 million encrypted card payments were compromised, although 354,000 payment cards had expired by September 2018. While these cards appeared to have been secured, Marriott is trying to assess whether the 15- or 16-digit numbers were entered into different data fields within its systems and possibly unencrypted or compromised.

While the Marriott data breach appears to have occurred in 2014, the company's IT team only discovered the event in September, when a security tool noticed an anomaly within the network. After a two-month investigation, the company announced the breach and began alerting customers in November. (See Marriott: 500 Million Guest Records Compromised in Data Breach.)

Later, a New York Times report found that Chinese cyber spies are suspected of orchestrating the breach, specifically to gain access to passport numbers that were stored within the company's databases in order to help build profiles of certain US citizens. (See China Suspected of Massive Marriott Data Breach Report.)

Marriott bought the Starwood hotel chain, which includes Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, Aloft, Element, Tribute Portfolio and Design Hotels, as well as timeshare properties, in 2015. A separate security breach was reported a few days after the sale. (See Marriott's Due Diligence Failure Led to Massive Data Breach.)

As part of Friday's announcement, Marriott noted that it has now phased out the Starwood reservations database, and all guest reservations are now booked through the company's main network.

The company continues to have a dedicated website for customers who need information and want to ask questions, and Marriott is also offering credit monitoring for guests who were affected.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Everything You Need to Know About DNS Attacks
It's important to understand DNS, potential attacks against it, and the tools and techniques required to defend DNS infrastructure. This report answers all the questions you were afraid to ask. Domain Name Service (DNS) is a critical part of any organization's digital infrastructure, but it's also one of the least understood. DNS is designed to be invisible to business professionals, IT stakeholders, and many security professionals, but DNS's threat surface is large and widely targeted. Attackers are causing a great deal of damage with an array of attacks such as denial of service, DNS cache poisoning, DNS hijackin, DNS tunneling, and DNS dangling. They are using DNS infrastructure to take control of inbound and outbound communications and preventing users from accessing the applications they are looking for. To stop attacks on DNS, security teams need to shore up the organization's security hygiene around DNS infrastructure, implement controls such as DNSSEC, and monitor DNS traffic
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2023-33196
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Craft is a CMS for creating custom digital experiences. Cross site scripting (XSS) can be triggered by review volumes. This issue has been fixed in version 4.4.7.
CVE-2023-33185
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Django-SES is a drop-in mail backend for Django. The django_ses library implements a mail backend for Django using AWS Simple Email Service. The library exports the `SESEventWebhookView class` intended to receive signed requests from AWS to handle email bounces, subscriptions, etc. These requests ar...
CVE-2023-33187
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Highlight is an open source, full-stack monitoring platform. Highlight may record passwords on customer deployments when a password html input is switched to `type="text"` via a javascript "Show Password" button. This differs from the expected behavior which always obfuscates `ty...
CVE-2023-33194
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
Craft is a CMS for creating custom digital experiences on the web.The platform does not filter input and encode output in Quick Post validation error message, which can deliver an XSS payload. Old CVE fixed the XSS in label HTML but didn’t fix it when clicking save. This issue was...
CVE-2023-2879
PUBLISHED: 2023-05-26
GDSDB infinite loop in Wireshark 4.0.0 to 4.0.5 and 3.6.0 to 3.6.13 allows denial of service via packet injection or crafted capture file