The names, addresses, contact information and passport numbers of over 300 million people who stayed at a Starwoods hotel property may have been accessed in a major data hack, Marriott hotels reported Friday. Marriott's data team confirmed that the Starwood guest reservation database — which contains up to 500 million accounts — had been compromised, and the hacking may have been ongoing since 2014.
Unfortunately, there may not be a lot individuals can do to completely protect themselves in response. Even a credit freeze may not a comprehensive solution.
"A credit freeze doesn't do much for identity theft. A credit freeze is not going to stop the bigger problems," cyber-security expert Joseph Steinberg tells CNBC Make It. "Everybody comes with the assumption that there's something to do and the reality is, sometimes, there isn't anything a consumer needs to do."
The best choice is to be vigilant, Steinberg says. If you receive notification from Marriott that your information was affected, sign up for the WebWatcher service the hotel chain is offering for free. Unlike a simple credit monitoring system, WebWatcher analyzes websites where personal information is shared and alerts consumers.