Marriott International’s astonishing data breach, exposing up to half a billion guests, has revealed yet another American pressure point that’s incredibly sensitive to digital attack — not only must we better defend where we vote and where we get our news, but where we lay our heads when we’re not at home.
The company now faces a class-action suit and shares have subsequently fallen 5.6%. On top of this, Marriott says for about 327 million victims, compromised data may include names, addresses and passport numbers — prompting Senator Chuck Schumer to demand that it “foot the bill” for new passports. He isn’t the only angry senator either.
“CEOs won’t take protecting our data seriously unless their own jobs are on the line,” says Senator Elizabeth Warren, adding that “Congress should focus on holding them accountable for these giant screw-ups.”
Marriott says it’s looking into how the breach took place, but this leaves the question of why it only now detected a problem that evidently began four years ago.
“With all the resources they have,” says Andrei Barysevich, a researcher with the threat intelligence company Recorded Future, “they should have been able to isolate hackers back in 2015.”
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