Industry News

Marriott International discloses its second security incident affecting 5.2 million guests

A security breach has exposed the personal information of more than 5 million guests that found comfort at the Marriott Bonvoy Hotel, according to an incident notification issued by Marriott yesterday.

What Happened?

In a statement, the company said guest information may have been accessed through the guest service software using login credentials of two employees between mid-January and late February 2020.

No indications of n inside job were added by the hospitality franchise, so the username and passwords were likely scraped through one of a variety of methods.

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

Exposure for customers

Although the breach investigation is still in progress, the company said there is “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 license numbers.”

However, other personal identifiable information may have been affected, including:

• Contact details such as name, physical address, email address, and phone number
• Loyalty account information such as account number and number of loyalty points
• Personal details such as company, gender and birthday
• Partnerships and affiliations such as any linked airline loyalty programs and numbers
• Guest preferences such as room preference and language

What should guests do?

All Marriott Bonvoy Hotel members involved had their login password disabled and are prompted to change it and enable multi-factor authentication.

The company also set up an online self-service portal that all guests can access to “determine whether their information was involved in this property system incident and, if so, what categories of information were involved.”

Marriott is also offering the option to enroll in a free 1-year personal monitoring service.

The first data breach disclosure

This is not the first security incident to hit the hotel chain in recent years. In November 2018, the company detected a breach in the Starwood Hotels guest reservation database (acquired by Marriott in 2016).

Investigations show bad actors infiltrated the network as early as 2014, managing to steal the personal information of 339 million guests. Under GDPR law, the hospitality giant was fined a whopping $123 million by UK’s data privacy regulator.

About the author

Alina Bizga

Alina has been a part of the Bitdefender family for some years now, as her past role involved interfacing with end users and partners, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She is a history buff and passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi. Her spare time is usually split between her two feline friends and traveling.