The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) revealed plans this week to fine British Airways and Marriott Hotels as a result of a data breaches that hit the organizations in 2018. 

On Monday, the ICO said it's planning to fine British Airways a record-breaking fine of $229.34 million for the breach suffered in September 2018. In the attack, hackers were able to divert user traffic to a bogus site,  stealing personal data from over 500,000 customers. Information stolen by hackers includes customer names, addresses, login credentials, payment card details, and travel booking information. 

The ICO reportedly told the BBC that this is the largest penalty it's issued under the new GDPR rules and the first to be made public. 

On Tuesday, the ICO said it's also planning to fine Marriott Hotels $123 million from the breach that exposed data on almost 340 million guests globally. Hackers gained unauthorized access to the company's Starwood guest reservations database starting in 2014 - the breach was not discovered and reported to the ICO until November 2018. Marriot did not own Starwood when the breach started but acquired the hotel group in 2016. 

The penalty proposed for British Airways is over 360 times higher than the previous record holder - the $645,000 fine given to Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company says it's surprised and disappointed" at the amount of the penalty, but it could have been much worse. Penalties for violating GDPR can be as high as €20 million, or 4% of annual revenue - whichever is higher. 

To avoid penalties with the GDPR, NNT suggests regularly patching to minimize risk by eliminating vulnerabilities, ensure proper access controls are in implemented, collect and store only information that you need, and restrict access to only the people who need the information to complete their job. 

 

 

 

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