Were you a victim in Marriott’s huge data breach? The hotel giant would like you to fill out some paperwork to find out. A new online form is being rolled out that might make it easier for Marriott to check if you are among its impacted guests. However, there’s no word yet on when you can expect to find out the answer. Marriott isn’t saying when it will notify people who fill out the online form of their findings. All that’s been revealed so far is that Marriott plans to reply to inquiries using what it is calling a frame of time that is practical and consistent with the law.
What does it all mean? Marriott is essentially asking you to trust the hotel brand with your private information in order to find out if your private information has been compromised. While that does seem a little bit crazy, it might not be a bad idea if you suspect that your information may have been compromised. Knowing the answer can give you peace of mind and potentially help you take any steps that you might need to take to protect your identity.
Is this the first time you’re hearing about Marriott’s big security breach? The hotel giant has been working hard to downplay the incident. It’s important to know that Marriott’s records weren’t technically compromised. A system that was responsible for storing information related to the Starwood Preferred Guest program was compromised by hackers during a period ranging from some point in 2014 until Sept. 10 of last year. Of course, the hack became Marriott’s problem once the company acquired Starwood back in September of 2016 for somewhere around $13.6 billion.
The hack that targeted Starwood’s database was huge. Somewhere between 300 million and 500 million guests were involved in the breach. What’s more, a wide variety of data was accessed from hackers involving those guests. That included details like names, addresses, birthdays, genders, email addresses, phone numbers and passport numbers. What may be the most troubling of all is that payment information was also compromised. Marriott has confirmed that somewhere around 8.6 million unique payment card numbers were accessed. Equally disturbing is the fact that 5.2 million of the more than 20 million passport numbers that were stolen were not encrypted.
Should you fill out Marriott’s online form to determine whether or not your information was compromised in the big Starwood hack? One would hope that Marriott would reach out to customers who may have had their information compromised. However, the company seems to be in a mode to make this breach seem as harmless as possible. You also have the option to call one of the dedicated call centers Marriott has set up for the purpose of getting information about the hack.