3 Security Tips After the Marriott Hack
500 million people were affected in the recent Marriott hack. If you do any kind of traveling, business bookings, or more, chances are you were probably one of them. What the hackers managed to steal includes a combination of names, addresses, date of birth, passport information, and Starwood preferred Guest account information. That's a lot of data from 500 million users.
With this kind of information, the hackers have a lot of choices on how to use it. They could perform identity theft, hack your bank account, steal all your Marriott points, or use the information to access other linked accounts such as credit cards.
So now that the damage is done, how can you protect yourself? Here are three quick and simple steps you can take.
1. Get on your Marriott/Starwood account and change your password
Think points. If you're one of those point collectors that has the Marriott card and track points, make sure you protect them by changing your password. Points can be valuable: imagine if they were all sold off on the dark web. Keep your points and your data safe. If you don't have it already, be sure to set up 2-factor authentication for that added layer of security. Of course, it's more than just your points at risk; it's also your personal information and credit card details.
2. Protect your (other) online accounts
You guessed it, time to change those passwords again! If you're like most of us, you probably used the same password for your Marriot account as you do with a couple of other accounts. Maybe even all your accounts. That's a pretty big security risk, so make sure you change them across the board.
Now, you might asking, do I really have to change my all passwords after every big hack? Yes, unless...
You use a FIDO U2F Security Key or other 2-factor authentication device when available! With so many hacks annually, it's a job in itself to change, remember and reset passwords. These products were made not only to prevent hacking but to protect your individual account in case a company-wide hack does occur. They will make your life a lot easier.
3. Sign up for WebWatcher, paid for by Marriott for one year
Marriott is offering a free one year of WebWatcher services. With the wealth of information that they stole, it's a good idea to take them up on this offer. WebWatcher will scan the web and the dark web to see if your information is being used. If you're worried about identity theft, this is a good way to give you some peace of mind and put a stop to any stolen identity before it can be used. Click here for more information.
Finally, if you feel you might be a prime candidate, you may want to go one step further and enact a credit freeze. This will essentially block all new credit applications from opening up in your name. For more information check here to read up on what the U.S. Public Interest Research Group suggests.