The Irish Data Protection Commissioner will investigate whether any Irish people are affected

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has confirmed it will be contacting Marriot International to find out if any Irish customers were caught up by a massive data breach affecting 500 million people around the world.

A spokesperson for the commissioner said it will be investigating the breach – however it has yet to hear of any Irish customers affected.

It comes after the international hotel group said names, email addresses, passports numbers and. In some cases, credit card information may have been accessed by hackers.

The company said that while the credit card details were encrypted, the encryption key may also have been stolen.

The hackers gained access to the information by compromising the chain’s Starwood guest reservation database.

This evening, the FBI confirmed it was investigating the breach.

Cyber Security expert Ronan Murphy from Smarttech247 said customers are facing potentially serious consequences.

“Number one obviously there is credit card fraud,” he said.

“But then it also makes it a lot easier to compromise the users whose data has been affected and that is done through a number of tactics like spear phishing or email compromise.

“It opens up a whole Pandora’s Box of problems.”