Remember that trip where you stayed at that fancy hotel, with the neon lights and “urban” music playing throughout the lobby? Yeah, a Starwood property. Well, Marriott wants you to know that your data has been exposed. Marriott, which acquired Starwood Property Group (SPG) in 2016 without conducting a proper cybersecurity background check, just discovered that Starwood’s database had been hacked since 2014. That’s like finding out two years into your marriage that your spouse exposed you to an infection four years ago but never told you. Okay don’t overthink it!
Marriott said that hackers have had access to personal information of about 500 million guests since 2014, which could include passport details, phone numbers and email addresses, credit card information, etc. Though, only Starwood property (ex: Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin, Aloft, etc) are affected, don’t feel too relieved because in this internet age, data breaches are now very common, so it’s just a matter of “when” will you be hacked.
So, what’s next?
Marriott will be emailing affected guests whose data had been affected. They’ve set up this website
and call center to answer your questions about the breach, and will provide you with free year enrollment to WebWatcher
, which monitors internet sites where personal information could be shared. This is the internet’s version of sitting in the waiting room of that health clinic waiting for your “test” results.