Malicious actors spent more than four years inside Marriott's Starwood reservation system obtaining access to 500 million guest records that included names, payment card information and other PII, the hotel chain reported today.

The cybercriminals gained access to, copied and encrypted a wide variety of data from guests using its reservation system, the company said. The Marriott IT team only discovered the breach on September 8, 2018 when the cybercriminals attempted to remove data from the U.S. system. This event led to a further investigation which uncovered that the long-running operation had been in place since 2014.

Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels in 2016, indicating the malware was already in place and not yet discovered prior to the deal closing.

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