Reacting to the Marriott Data Breach

Sarah Smith

Content Strategy
Back to the News Desk

When Marriott acknowledged its data breach, two things happened at CI Security. First, non-cyber security professionals wanted our expertise. Second, companies called and urgently asked for penetration tests.


Helping the Public

We all got into the cyber security business to help people. Consumers were angry and confused about what happened to Marriott. Many still hold on to the belief that breaches can be completely stopped. We took calls from and answered questions for CNN and Q13 Fox News.

CI Security Mike Hamilton told them:

  • Marriott had two big security misses. You can read about them here.
  • Consumers should be rightly annoyed that Marriott was saving passport numbers.
  • Expect breaches to keep happening, especially since companies are not serious enough about managed detection and response.


Helping Companies

Today might have been a wake-up call for a lot of companies asking how they can avoid being the “next Marriott.” Maybe if you’re a CIO or CISO today is the day you got your budget request granted.

Yes, you might need a Penetration Test, commonly called a PenTest or Pen Test.

But, you might not. Don’t make a rash decision. Coincidentally, just in the past week, our top healthcare cyber security expert wrote about what you likely need to do to prepare for a Penetration Test. You can read his 7 Triggers For A Pen Test here.  We’re joking with him that trigger #8 might be the Marriott breach!

Truth is, companies need 24/7 monitoring of their networks. And not to sound like we’re trying to sell something here, but there’s a reason MDR is the new direction of cyber security. Expert analysts watch your data and look for problems. That’s what we do at CI Security. We’ve caught crypto-miners, phishing scams, and installed malware in the past months for our clients.

Reputation harm is a real problem for companies. Marriott’s stock price is down but it’s the opinion of the public that might really hurt the hotel chain long-term. The hackers had been inside their systems for several years. That’s not good. We want to make sure that amount of dwell time (the time between hack and discovery/response) doesn’t happen to anyone else.