The United States is preparing a “crackdown on Beijing,” after it was discovered that the recent Marriott data breach was perpetrated by Chinese hackers, according to a report.
“The cyberattack on the Marriott hotel chain that collected personal details of roughly 500 million guests was part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering effort that also hacked health insurers and the security clearance files of millions more Americans,” reported the New York Times, citing two people “briefed on the investigation.”
“The hackers, they said, are suspected of working on behalf of the Ministry of State Security, the country’s Communist-controlled civilian spy agency,” the Times explained, adding, that the “Trump administration also plans to declassify intelligence reports to reveal Chinese efforts dating to at least 2014 to build a database containing names of executives and American government officials with security clearances.”
The New York Times also reported that the “discovery comes as the Trump administration is planning actions targeting China’s trade, cyber and economic policies, perhaps within days,” and added that the United States may “make it harder for Chinese companies to obtain critical components for telecommunications equipment,” in response to the hack.
A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied reports that China had anything to do with the hack, claiming, “China firmly opposes all forms of cyberattack and cracks down on it in accordance with the law… If offered evidence, the relevant Chinese departments will carry out investigations according to the law.”
The Marriott breach, which was discovered in November, affected hundreds of millions of guests that had used the company’s Starwood reservation system. According to Breitbart News’ reporting on the incident:
Following a company-wide database assessment, Marriott concluded on November 19 the breach occurred on Starwood’s network and that unauthorized activity has taken place on its servers since 2014, which included duplicating and encrypting data.
“The company has not finished identifying duplicate information in the database, but believes it contains information on up to approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property,” the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said in a statement.
Breitbart News will follow this story as it unfolds.