Marriott data breach traced to Chinese hackers

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

Washington sees them as part of an espionage effort that has targeted health insurers and the US civil service employment database. This time it's being accused of carrying out the Marriott data breach, according to the New York Times.

The hotel chain's CEO Arne Sorenson has apologised to its customers though an apology and even possible reimbursement does not make up for the fact that they could become victims of identity fraud as a result of the data breach.

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The Marriott breach exposed an unusually broad array of data, including names, addresses, phone numbers, passport numbers and credit card numbers, as well as information on where people traveled and with whom.

A report by the New York Times claims hackers behind the attack could be linked to China's Ministry of State Security, the government's intelligence gathering office.

The hackers are believed to have been working for China's Ministry of State Security, the Times reported, citing sources who had been briefed on the investigation's preliminary results.

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The Marriott hacking allegation came amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington that encompasses geopolitics, trade, technology rivalry and espionage. The Trump administration is also planning to declassify intelligence that shows some of China's illicit cyber activities and considering issuing an executive order that targets Chinese companies trying to get their hands on certain pieces of telecommunications equipment. It's an allegation, China vigorously denies. "If offered evidence, the relevant Chinese departments will carry out investigations according to the law". Here's what you should do instead of freaking out.

This seemingly tit-for-tat move comes on the heels of the Trump administration's plan to take action against China's economic and cyber policies. New details are emerging from the recent Marriott hack, and fingers are being pointed at the Chinese.

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.

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