Marriott International Shares Plummet After 500 Million Customer Data Breach

Marriott International

Marriott International Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR) released an announcement this morning regarding a data breach to its system that affects around 500 million of its guests. The incident involves the Starwood guest reservation database.

Marriott International Data Breach

Marriott learned that the unauthorized hacker has copied and encrypted information from guests that have booked with the Starwood network as far back as 2014. 

“We deeply regret this incident happened,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves. We are doing everything we can to support our guests, and using lessons learned to be better moving forward.”

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The hotel group has over 6,700 properties around the world. The hack took place in med-September, but Marriott didn’t have the final details until just recently. Unfortunately, hackers obtained credit card information from some of these 500 million customers, but it remains unknown if the info could be used.

Marriott also said it wasn’t sure how many passport numbers and dates of birth were obtained from the hack. The company does want to warn customers, as this was a “subset” of information that was stolen.

“It’s astonishing how long it took them to discover they were breached,” said Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, a group that supports strong data protection laws. “For four years, data was being pilfered out of the company, and they didn’t notice. They can say all they want that they take security seriously, but they don’t if you can be hacked over a four-year period without noticing.”

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Marriott International’s breach is far larger than the Equifax one last year. In that incident, 148 million people were affected. For those who feel they may have been affected, Marriott set up a dedicated website for the incident and a call center to handle the concerns. 

Marriott International Stock Movement

According to Yahoo Finance, Marriott stock has dropped a considerable amount today. At press time, MAR shares are trading at $115.33 a share, down -$6.51 (-5.34%).

Featured Image: Depositphotos © Stas_K