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Cyber Security: The Marriott Data Breach

December 17th, 2018 by William Wentowski

Data Breach

Another day, another major data breach. These have become all too common, and every passing breach raises your risk of major theft and fraud. This time it is Marriott, a company that owns more than 1 in 15 of the hotel rooms worldwide (1.1 million rooms in total).

What does this mean for you?

First, the hackers have been skimming data from Starwood properties since 2014. Marriott acquired that brand in 2016 and opened themselves to skimming. Second, the data is everything from credit cards and the typical personal info (name, address, etc.) to passport numbers (huge red flag). It has blown open the door on half a billion people and is going to cause numerous headaches for individuals and their companies.

What can you expect to see? What should you do?

There will be a sharp increase in phishing attempts and scam calls for individuals. If you don’t already use a password manager, now would be a great time to get one and update all your passwords; or better yet, let the manager generate them for you. Additionally, look out for a more concerted effort to social engineer a hack. Don’t share any information with an unknown source. If someone calls you from your bank, tell them you will call back and use your bank’s main number.

What can your business expect?

Again, increased phishing attempts and social engineering attacks. If you have a frequent traveler with a company card, scrutinize his or her bills for fraudulent charges. You will probably see fake invoices arrive as well for a "past due" hotel bill or some "misbilling mistake." Independently verify these items.

As always, if in doubt about something, call BTS. We can help identify scams—we see a few of them—and keep your network and employees safe. If you haven’t talked to anyone about a security training seminar (free to our managed service partners), then give us a call. It’s a fairly quick and interactive 30-minute talk with your staff about how to keep themselves and the company a little safer.

Posted in: Cyber Security

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