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Chinese Hackers Are Likely Responsible For Marriott Data Breach, Reports Say

Chinese Hackers Are Likely Responsible For Marriott Data Breach, Reports Say

The recent Marriott Hotel cyberattack that gleaned personal data from almost 500 million guests in the hotel's database has been tied to China.

Marriott, which announced the data breach on November 30, has not disclosed what it knows about the source of the hack, which included the theft of credit card and passport numbers over four years from guests who stayed at hotels previously operated by Starwood.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that the data heist was part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering effort that also hacked health insurers and the files of millions more who have government security clearances.

Preliminary indications are the breach was conducted by hackers affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal information not yet ready for public release. And this wasn't the group's first successful raid - the report also links it to cyberattacks against health insurers and a few instances of U.S. security clearance files theft.

The revelation comes amid tensions between on-going tensions between the USA and China.




Washington has been planning to issue a series of measures that include indictments and possible sanctions against Chinese hackers, The Times and Post both reported. Officials are also preparing to declassify documents detailing efforts by Chinese agents to compile a database of American executives with security clearances. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the country was responsible for the hack. "If offered evidence, the relevant Chinese departments will carry out investigations according to the law".

The hack began in 2014, shortly after an attack on the United States government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) compromised sensitive data on tens of millions of employees, including application forms for security clearances.

This month's arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of Chinese electronics giant Huawei, at the request of the United States has complicated efforts to resolve a dispute which has seen Washington slap tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods, and Beijing responding in kind.

The hack into Starwood's reservation system was discovered in September and was publicly revealed last month - shortly before the US began a 90-day trade truce with China that was negotiated by President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, which hosted the G-20 summit.

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