China accused over Marriott data breach

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday told Fox News that the U.S. believed China masterminded the hacking, which included the theft of credit card and passport numbers over a four-year period from guests who stayed at hotels previously operated by Starwood, a brand bought by Marriott in 2016.

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. And that the "discovery comes as the Trump administration is planning actions targeting China's trade, cyber and economic policies, perhaps within days".

People involved in the company's private investigation into the breach also said the hackers may have been trying to collect information for China's spy agencies, rather than for financial gain, Reuters reported.

The New York Times says the US government is working on a response that includes indictments of those believed to be involved.

In other business news, Hertz says it's teaming up with biometric company clear to speed up the process of renting a auto. However, according to the report, speculation about the group being responsible for the hack has been denied by Chinese officials.

U.S. investigators reportedly believe Chinese state hackers are behind the attack, which began four years ago.

China has reportedly been trying to build a database containing USA government officials' personal information.

U.S. suspicions of Chinese involvement in the Marriott theft come amid heightened rivalry between the two countries over trade, geo-politics and technology despite continuing attempts to reach a truce.

"If offered evidence, the relevant Chinese departments will carry out investigations according to the law", it was said. Earlier this month, a top executive at Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei was arrested in Canada at the behest of USA authorities who accused her of deceiving financial institutions, putting them in a position to violate sanctions against Iran.

The hack attack against the systems of the Marriott's Starwood Hotel brand saw some 500 million customers affected and threw the company under some heavy scrutiny.

She was granted bail at $7.4 million while she awaits a hearing for extradition to the US.

  • Tracy Klein