Attorney General Josh Stein reaches $1.25 million multistate settlement with Carnival Cruise Line over its 2019 data breach

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Attorney General Josh Stein reached a $1.25 million multistate settlement Wednesday with Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line stemming from a 2019 data breach that involved the personal information of approximately 180,000 Carnival employees and customers, including 3,139 North Carolinians.

Stein was part of the executive committee investigating Carnival. North Carolina will receive $42,830.10. 

“The ramifications of a data breach can be devastating for people whose identity and financial information is compromised and stolen,” Stein said. “Companies that have our personal and financial information must do everything reasonably within their power to protect it from hackers. I’m pleased that Carnival is making changes to better safeguard people’s data.”

In March 2020, Carnival publicly reported a data breach in which an unauthorized actor gained access to certain Carnival employee e-mail accounts. The breach included names, addresses, passport numbers, driver’s license numbers, payment card information, health information, and a relatively small number of Social Security Numbers. 

In its breach notification, Carnival stated that it first became aware of suspicious email activity in late May 2019, approximately 10 months before it reported the breach. In their investigation, the attorneys general focused on Carnival’s email security practices and compliance with state breach notification statutes. “Unstructured” data breaches like the Carnival breach involve personal information stored via email and other disorganized platforms. Businesses lack visibility into this data, making breach notification more challenging—and consumer risk rises with delays. 

Carnival has agreed to strengthen its email security and breach response practices going forward, including by implementing and maintaining a breach response and notification plan, monitoring potential security events, putting in place employee email security training, multi-factor authentication for remote email access, and stronger password policies, and undergoing an independent information security assessment.

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