Gegevens 380.000 passagiers British Airways gestolen bij hack
De gegevens van 380.000 passagiers van de Britse luchtvaartmaatschappij British Airways zijn gestolen bij een hack. Het om gaat volgens het bedrijf om “persoonlijke of financiële informatie”, maar de luchtvaartmaatschappij treedt niet in detail.
Passagiers die tussen 21 augustus en 5 september via de website of app van British Airways een vlucht hebben geboekt, zijn mogelijk slachtoffer geworden. Dat maakt de luchtvaartmaatschappij bekend op de website.
De hackers hebben volgens British Airways geen informatie over de geboekte reizen of paspoortinformatie gestolen. Hoe de hackers de persoonlijke en financiële informatie wel buit konden maken, is niet bekend.
Volgens British Airways is de kwetsbaarheid opgelost. Het bedrijf zegt de politie en privacyautoriteit op de hoogte te hebben gesteld.
De luchtvaartmaatschappij zegt getroffen klanten “zo snel mogelijk” op de hoogte te hebben gebracht. Een woordvoerder van British Airways laat aan Reuters weten dat klanten die geld zijn verloren, door de vliegtuigmaatschappij worden gecompenseerd.
“Onze data is versleuteld”, zegt de woordvoerder. “De criminelen hebben gebruik gemaakt van heel verfijnde inspanningen om data in handen te krijgen.”
British Airways boss apologises for ‘malicious’ data breach
The chief executive of British Airways has apologised for what he has called a very sophisticated breach of the firm’s security systems.
Alex Cruz told the BBC that hackers carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on its website.
The airline said personal and financial details of customers making bookings had been compromised.
About 380,000 transactions were affected, but the stolen data did not include travel or passport details.
BA said the breach took place between 22:58 BST on 21 August and 21:45 BST on 5 September.
“The first thing was to find out if it was something serious and who it affected or not. The moment that actual customer data had been compromised, that’s when we began immediate communication to our customers.”
BA said all customers affected by the breach had been contacted on Thursday night. The breach only affects people who bought tickets during the timeframe provided by BA, and not on other occasions.
Mr Cruz added: “At the moment, our number one purpose is contacting those customers that made those transactions to make sure they contact their credit card bank providers so they can follow their instructions on how to manage that breach of data.”
The airline has taken out adverts apologising for the breach in Friday’s newspapers.
Mr Cruz told the BBC’s Today programme: “We’re extremely sorry. I know that it is causing concern to some of our customers, particularly those customers that made transactions over BA.com and app.
“We discovered that something had happened but we didn’t know what it was [on Wednesday evening]. So overnight, teams were trying to figure out the extent of the attack.
What data was stolen?
“It was name, email address, credit card information – that would be credit card number, expiration date and the three digit [CVV] code on the back of the credit card,” said BA boss Mr Cruz.
BA insists it did not store the CVV numbers. This is prohibited under international standards set out by the PCI Security Standards Council.
Since BA said the attackers also managed to obtain CVV numbers, security researchers have speculated that the card details were intercepted, rather than harvested from a BA database.
What could the hackers do with the data?
Once fraudsters have your personal information, they may be able to access your bank account, or open new accounts in your name, or use your details to make fraudulent purchases. They could also sell on your details to other crooks.
What do I need to do?
If you’ve been affected, you should change your online passwords. Then monitor your bank and credit card accounts keeping an eye out for any dodgy transactions. Also be very wary of any emails or calls asking for more information to help deal with the data breach: crooks often pose as police, banks or, in this instance they could pretend to be from BA.
Will my booking be affected?
BA says none of the bookings have been hit by the breach. It said it has contacted all those affected to alert them to the problem with their data, but booked flights should go ahead.
Will there be compensation for me?
If you suffer any financial loss or hardship, the airline has promised to compensate you.
BA customers have expressed frustration with the airline on social media.
Mat Thomas said he placed a booking on 27 August, but had not been contacted about the breach.
“Atrocious that I had to find out about this via news and twitter,” he tweeted.
“Called bank and had to cancel both mine and my wife’s card. Probably won’t get it back before we fly (ironically).”
Gemma Theobald tweeted: “My bank… are experiencing extremely high call volumes due to this breach! Couldn’t do anything other than cancel my card… not how I wanted to spend my Thursday evening.”
The company could potentially face fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is looking into the breach.
Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of the Direct Marketing Association, said: “British Airways has a duty to ensure their customer data is always secure. They need to show that they have done everything possible to ensure such a breach won’t happen again.
“The risks go far beyond the fines regulators can issue – albeit that these could be hefty under the new [EU data protection] GDPR regime.”
Under GDPR, fines can be up to 4% of annual global revenue. BA’s total revenue in the year to 31 December 2017 was £12.226, so that could be a potential maximum of £489m.
The National Crime Agency and National Cyber Security Centre also confirmed they were assessing the incident.
Shares in BA owner IAG fell by 2.5% in early trade on Friday.
This is not the first customer relations problem to affect the airline in recent times.
In July, BA apologised after IT issues caused dozens of flights in and out of Heathrow Airport to be cancelled.
The month before, more than 2,000 BA passengers had their tickets cancelled because the prices were too cheap.
And in May 2017, serious problems with BA’s IT systems led to thousands of passengers having their plans disrupted, after all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick were cancelled.
“It does not indicate that the information systems are the most robust in the airline industry,” Simon Calder, travel editor at the Independent, told the BBC.
However, he does not think BA will be affected in the long term by the breach.
“The airline has immense strength. Notably it’s holding a majority of slots at Heathrow, and an enviable safety record, so while this is embarrassing and will potentially cost tens of millions of pounds to resolve, it’s more like another flesh wound for BA, rather than anything serious.”