The Marriott breach, which involved the personal data of around 500 million customers being hacked, was reportedly part of a larger effort led by China, according to the New York Times. If half a billion personal records breached didn’t sound big enough, the hackers also allegedly got access to health insurers data and security clearance files.
This development makes the whole mess even messier. The Times, citing two unnamed people with knowledge of the investigation, says that the Chinese government has been working for years on building a database of “executives and American government officials with security clearances.” This Marriott news is likely a part of that same effort. China, it appears, has been ramping up its spying efforts once again–after President Obama reached an agreement with the country in 2015 to stop cyber-espionage.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been going head to head with China over trade for quite a while now. This latest development–along with the U.S. arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou over fraud allegations–will only heighten tensions between the two countries.
It’s unclear what action the U.S. is going to take if it’s further proven that China was the brains behind the Marriott fiasco. But things are likely not going to be pretty.
You can read the full New York Times report here.