380,000 customers affected: Massive data incident at British Airways
British Airways, based in London, has confirmed a massive data breach. However, Britain’s largest airline is staying silent about exactly how it happened. The only thing anyone knows is that hackers managed to steal customer information from ba.com.
In a statement, the parent company International Airlines Group admitted that customer’s “personal and financial data” was affected who had made bookings between August 21 and September 5, 2018, on BA’s website or via its app. Apparently, around 380,000 transactions are affected. Thankfully, the hackers failed to access travel and passport information – the data leak has now also been plugged and the internet site is working again as normal, said the company.
Victims to receive compensation
British Airways also promised to contact everyone affected and explain what happened. As a first step, the airline recommends potential victims contact their banks or credit card providers and follow their recommendations. BA has promised appropriate compensation to customers who have suffered any financial losses as a result of the security breach. In accordance with the new European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the airline can expect to be hit with further fines of anywhere up to four percent of their global turnover.
Huge data breaches are not one-offs
Whether Sony, BMW, ride-sharing services, Facebook, or now British Airways: News about stolen customer data is now just as commonplace as hearing about terrorist attacks in the Middle East – nothing out of the ordinary. It’s a dangerous fallacy to think you are not affected personally. Here are just three examples to illustrate why: In 2012 hackers broke into the servers of Sony – you know, that huge multinational – and got their hands on 100 million data records. In 2014 Russian hackers obtained an unbelievable 1.2 billion usernames and passwords. And in early 2018, Cambridge Analytica was able to collect and analyze personal information from 50 million Facebook users, and use the insights it gained to exert massive influence on US elections. Even experts don’t dare to put a figure on the total amount of data leaks that go unreported. In short: Personal information is unsecure in the hands of corporations. The reasons are many, including human error, greed for profit, and poor security precautions. In the case of Sony, vulnerabilities were revealed that had been known about for years.
Smart service warns against data misuse
Here’s a great tip if you’re worried about the above and want to protect yourself: Avira Identity Scanner, a new solution from Avira, warns you if your identity is being misused. To tell you, Avira Identity Scanner scours the visible and invisible internet (Dark Web) specifically looking for your information – including your credit card and account details. If any of your data is being misused, it gives you a warning and tips on what steps you can take to counter data misuse.