Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, confirmed today that China was behind the theft of data from some 500 million guests of the Marriott hotel chain, recently released, amid the bilateral tensions between the two countries.
“That’s right,” Pompeo responded in an interview with US broadcaster Fox when asked if China is responsible for the cyber attack at Marriott hotels.
“Our relationship with China is a challenge, they are conducting espionage and influence operations here in the United States,” said the head of US diplomacy.
Marriott acknowledged at the end of November “unauthorized access to the database of Starwood, one of its subsidiaries, which includes passport and bank account numbers, dates and places of birth of customers and their contact information, among others.
“Our effort, from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and the State Department, is to push back these threats to the United States from China,” Pompeo argued in the interview.
Washington suspects that hackers who accessed the Marriott database work for the Ministry of State Security of China, in charge of the intelligence and espionage of the Asian giant, according to sources from The New York Times familiar with the investigation .
This finding comes as President’s government, Donald Trump, prepares measures against China’s trade, economic and cyber policies, which will include sanctions against “hackers.”
Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed a 90-day commercial truce two weeks ago, but the government fears, according to the newspaper, that Beijing will not change its economic, commercial and technological strategy concluded this period.