Hotels

The Marriott breach: Here’s what you need to know

Last week Marriott revealed it had fallen victim to a massive hack that led to the theft of a whopping 500 million Starwood hotels customers.

The information stolen included some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences.

In a statement, Marriott said it “deeply regrets this incident happened”.

“From the start, we moved quickly to contain the incident and conduct a thorough investigation with the assistance of leading security experts,” the hotel giant said.

“Marriott is working hard to ensure our guests have answers to questions about their personal information with a dedicated website and call center.

“We are supporting the efforts of law enforcement and working with leading security experts to improve. Marriott is also devoting the resources necessary to phase out Starwood systems and accelerate the ongoing security enhancements to our network.”

We asked cybersecurity company Sophos what customers should do if they think they have been impacted by the hack.

According to John Shier, senior security advisor at Sophos, the potential fallout from the Marriott’s Starwood data breach should be alarming to anyone who has stayed at a Starwood property in the last 4 years.

He said those affected could be at risk of opportunistic phishing attacks and targeted phishing emails, phone scams and even financial fraud.

“Unlike previous breaches, this attack also included passport numbers for some individuals who are now at increased risk for identity theft,” Shier said.

“At this point, however, it’s unclear what level of exposure each individual victim has been subject to. Until then, all potential victims should assume the worst and take all necessary precautions to protect themselves from all manner of scams.”

Sophos recommends those who are potentially affected follow these handy tips:

  • Be on alert for spearphishing: Marriott has said that personal details associated with the Starwood Preferred Guests accounts have been compromised, and personal email addresses are vulnerable. This creates the perfect scenario for cybercriminals to used targetted phishing emails against consumers because they have this type of detailed information.
  • Be on alert for opportunistic phishing:  Marriott has said it will email Starwood Preferred Guests those who may be impacted. Do not click on links in emails or other communication that seem to have come from Marriott or Starwood hotels. It’s possible that criminals will try to take advantage of this by sending malicious tweets or phishing emails that look like they’ve come from the company. Hover over URLs and links to see the address before you click. Look at the email address to see where it is from.
  • Monitor your financial accounts:  Reports indicate the attackers may have access to some members’ encrypted credit card information, but it’s not clear as of yet if this information can be decrypted; in general, monitor your credit card for suspicious activity. As a safety precaution, change the password to your online credit card account. If you use the same password for similar financial management websites, immediately change the password on those websites. As a best security practice, always choose a different, strong password for each sensitive account.
  • Change passwords, as a precaution:  It’s not clear as of yet if the attackers have access to Starwood Preferred Guest account passwords, but as a safety precaution, consumers can change their password. If this password is also used for any financial accounts, change those immediately. Monitor your Starwood Preferred Guest account for suspicious activity.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Tourism

Big Fat Aloha Friday Wrap

This is our very last Aloha Friday wrap of the year! From rodeos to resort openings to making poke, find all your Hawaii news right here.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

Welcome to the second last agent wrap of the year! Don’t expect anything amazing next week – we’ll be too busy singing Christmas carols to do any work.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Give yourself as a gift this Christmas

Don’t have any money this Christmas? Give yourself as a gift! And yes, by that we mean literally wrap yourself up as a present. What’s more festive than that?

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the week

Welcome to a very festive edition of Flavour of the Week! Why is it festive, you ask? We wore a Santa hat while writing it and think it really comes out in the text.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“We are never settled, always looking to challenge the status quo”: Excite Holidays

by Lauren Croft

We chatted with Australian Travel Awards Wholesaler of the Year winners, Excite Holidays about their favourite type of cheese and how to kill it on the d-floor. Oh, and winning the award.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

These are Australia’s most Instagrammed locations

Our most Instagrammed location has been our pocket since our lock screen broke. After a while, we got tired of deleting the pictures and now try to pass them off as arty.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas nixes staff volunteer problem after union outcry

The airline said the program will now only include 50 senior managers and executives after being accused of “grinch behaviour”.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tripadvisor names top 10 foodie experiences worldwide

Because what’s a Friday without a story filled with pictures of delicious food from your pals at Travel Weekly?

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Air France to welcome its first female CEO

This is a huge win for the airline industry, considering only 12 out of 286 IATA airlines are run by women.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

ATTN AGENTS: Royal Caribbean launches its biggest incentive yet!

Just when you thought all the exciting end of year incentives were over, RCL has gone and blown our expectations launching their biggest consultant incentive yet.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

The off-the-grid cabins every city-slicker is dying to book

by Melina Gouveia

Ditch the commitments, heed the call of the wild, and cure your nature deficient disorder with these swanky cabins.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Let’s make Poke! Hawaiian Airlines’ industry guests join Chef Lee Anne Wong in Sydney

Hawaiian Airlines hosted a fun promotion at the Sydney Cooking School recently inviting guests including key travel industry partners to meet Hawaiian Airlines Executive Chef Lee Anne Wong

Share

CommentComments