Bloomberg is reporting this morning that United Airlines was the victim of a Chinese-backed hacker attack. According to the article,
The previously unreported United breach raises the possibility that the hackers now have data on the movements of millions of Americans, adding airlines to a growing list of strategic U.S. industries and institutions that have been compromised. Among the cache of data stolen from United are manifests — which include information on flights’ passengers, origins and destinations — according to one person familiar with the carrier’s investigation.
The idea of hackers going after United raises questions about what kinds of information the hackers might be after and what other airlines they have targeted. One could be forgiven for wondering if this had anything to do with United’s recent computer issues that inconvenienced thousands of travelers.
I’m not going to pick on United as this could happen to any large organization, and for all we know other airlines have been hit. Perhaps they were fortunate and able to intercept the hackers before they successfully infiltrated their systems. While it appears this attack was focused on flight manifest data, and there are no indications that this hit the airline’s website and related servers where many of us store credit card information. A few months ago I took the precautionary step of cutting down the number of credit cards I store in my airline profiles (and other e-commerce profiles) purely as a precaution.
I’m not “worried” or fearful for safety, but this news is concerning for sure. Keep an eye out for news on this one.
-MJ, July 29, 2015