Economy

Data breach lands Marriott chain £99m fine

Data breach lands Marriott chain £99m fine”

The breach revealed in November 2018 involved the leak of 500 million customer records from the guest reservation database of Marriott's Starwood Hotels and Resorts division.

Class-action lawsuits started piling on hours after Marriott announced its security breach. British Airways will now have an opportunity to make representations to the ICO regarding the findings and proposed sanction (and it is expected that British Airways will appeal the fine).

This is the second large fine announced by the Information Commissioner's Office this week.

In a statement, Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson said the company has assisted the Information Commissioner's Office with its investigation.

The ICO said Marriott has cooperated with the regulator's investigation and has improved its security since discovering the breach previous year.

A variety of personal data contained in approximately 339 million guest records globally were exposed by the incident, of which around 30 million related to residents of 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).

The proposed fines against British Airways and Marriott International indicate that the ICO is prepared to take a hard line on security breaches that compromise customer information, and to make full use of the powers available to it under GDPR.

Britain's data watchdog has slapped a further £99m fine on Marriott International, taking the total financial penalties it has announced this week to almost one third of a billion pounds.

The ICO can seek a fine of up to 4% of a company's global annual revenue for a breach under the GDPR.

The hack likely took place in 2014 and targeted a Starwood database, two years before the company was acquired by Marriott. The company alerted affected guests. That's why the law is clear - when you are entrusted with personal data you must look after it.

"People's personal data is just that - personal", said Denham.

"We are disappointed with this notice of intent from the ICO, which we will contest".

As later discovered, British Airways was the victim of a Magecart card scraping attack that used a web-based card skimmer to steal payment card information from the airline's customers.

BA said it had received no reports from customers who had had money fraudulently taken out of their account. "When an organization fails to protect it from loss, damage or theft it is more than an inconvenience", she said.

Marriott issued an update on the situation in a filing made today with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.



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