Posted: Alayna Pehrson|November 30th, 2018

Identity Theft

Marriott Starwood Data Breach May Affect 500 Million Guests


Facebook Tweet mail
blog post author image
Written by Alayna Pehrson
Alayna Pehrson is a Content Management Specialist for Best Company. With a communications degree and a journalism background, she strives to provide helpful online content that is focused on credit repair, identity theft, business loans, & guns and ammo.

guest in hotel room

Marriott announced on Friday, November 30, 2018, that it's Starwood reservation system experienced a massive data breach. This data breach may have exposed private information of close to 500 million guests. The sheer number of people who may be affected makes the Starwood data breach one of the largest data breaches in history.

The hotel chain was notified of an unauthorized attempt to access the Starwood system in September. Marriott took action by getting security professionals on the case. According to USA Today, it was later recognized that "there had been unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014."

Marriott Starwood properties that may have been affected by the breach include the Sheraton Hotels, Westin Hotels, St.Regis Hotels, W Hotels, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, and more.

The type of information that may have been exposed due to the breach includes guest names, email addresses, date of birth, phone numbers, credit card numbers, credit card expiration dates, passport information, arrival/departure information, etc.

According to an official Marriott news release, "the payment card numbers were encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard encryption." The hotel brand went on to explain that "there are two components needed to decrypt the payment card numbers, and at this point, Marriott has not been able to rule out the possibility that both were taken."

Marriott reported the massive data breach to law officials and is currently working on resolutions. The hotel chain is in the process of emailing guests that have been affected by the breach.

The Marriott news release also stated that "Marriott is providing guests the opportunity to enroll in WebWatcher free of charge for one year. WebWatcher monitors internet sites where personal information is shared and generates an alert to the consumer if evidence of the consumer’s personal information is found. Due to regulatory and other reasons, WebWatcher or similar products are not available in all countries. Guests from the United States who activate WebWatcher will also be provided fraud consultation services and reimbursement coverage for free. To activate WebWatcher, go to and click on your country, if listed, for enrollment."

There is currently little to no information provided regarding the motive behind the Starwood data breach. One of the most popular motives behind data breaches is identity theft. Those who are concerned about future identity theft threats may want to consider professional identity theft protection.

Compare the top ranked companies

Find the right company for you.

IdentityIQ image #1
MyIDCare image #2
LifeLock image #3
Complete ID image #4
LegalShield IDShield image #5
Zander ID Protection image #6 View

Related Articles

Card image cap
2019 Identity Theft and Scam Trends: Part...

This is Part 2 of a two-part article. Read Part 1 here. It’s impossible to be 100 percent accurate when it comes ...

Read More
Card image cap
2019 Identity Theft and Scam Trends: Part ...

This is Part 1 of a two-part article. Read Part 2 here. From 2017 to 2018, the U.S. population experienced an abundance ...

Read More
Card image cap
5 Ways to Secure Your Smart and IoT Device...

Guest Post by Emily William Technological advances have made for exciting possibilities to cultivate your own digital wo...

Read More