Cyber Security expert says it was impossible for guests to protect themselves from Marriott breach

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A security breach inside Marriott’s hotel empire has compromised the information for as many as 500 million guests.

The hotel chain said Friday the hack affects its Starwood reservation database, a group of hotels it bought in 2016 that includes the St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton and W Hotels.

Marriott said hackers had gained “unauthorized access” to the Starwood reservation system since 2014, but the company only identified the issue last week.

For some people data breaches are something you live with.

"It’s frustrating, but unfortunately it has become the norm," Marriott customer Adrianne Wagner said.

For others they are not used to them.

"That’s quite a big shocker to me honestly and it kind of makes me second guess like which hotel I should actually be staying at," said Marriott customer Corrine Blasko.

Cyber security expert Matt Gangwer said it’s almost impossible for people to protect themselves from major breaches like this one.

"The information you have to provide them is legitimate, so it’s not like you can just give them fake information, it has to be real so it’s difficult to protect yourself in that regard,”  said Matt Gangwer, chief technology officer for Rook Security.

”I think it’s a little bit alarming especially because it’s a large company, so you would think they would have better security in place. I'm not surprised because it seems like people are targeting the larger companies where they can get more information," Wagner said.

Wagner booked a hotel through Marriott for this weekend. She said the breach won’t stop her from doing business with the company.

"I have everything on credit lock right now, so I’m not too concerned about it, but depending on what information is out there it definitely puts me on high alert," she said.

A Marriott spokesperson says they will be notifying all 500 million people impacted through email.