Chinese hackers believed to be behind massive Marriott data breach
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The New York Times has reported that Chinese hackers are believed to have carried out the hack that involved the records of 500 million Starwood guests. Sources familiar with the investigation have stated that tell-tale signs have pointed towards the involvement of a Chinese intelligence agency rather than the incident just being a random malicious attack or financially related.
According to the report, the information that was on the database has not yet appeared on the dark web or websites where hacked data has been exchanged for financial gain in the past, leading investigators to believe the hack was carried out by a government agency rather than a criminal entity. The methods used in the hack, such as server hopping, have also been linked with previous Chinese-based cyber attacks.
The accusation comes at a turbulent time for US-China relations in general, and especially so in the technology sector. President Donald Trump has threatened to place tariffs on tech hardware coming out of China, and Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is currently on bail in Canada awaiting her extradition hearing.
Marriott announced it was purchasing Starwood in 2015 and the deal was finalized in 2016 for US$13.6 billion. The company has created a special website to assist guests who may have been affected by the 2018 data breach.