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Saturday 6 March 2021

Look out: Your personal data is under threat again

The first thing I knew about it was an email from Air New Zealand: An update about your air points data.

Air New Zealand said: "We have recently been alerted that a Star Alliance partner has been impacted by a security data breach, involving some of our customers’ data as well as that of many other Star Alliance airlines.

"The Star Alliance member airlines share minimal frequent flyer data between each other and limited third parties to ensure benefits can be used across different carriers, for example access to member lounges.

"Unfortunately, some of your information has been involved in this data breach, however, this is limited to your name, tier status and membership number. This is the full extent of frequent flyer data Air New Zealand shares with other Star Alliance member airlines."

Concerning nonetheless. 

"This data breach does not include any member passwords, credit card information or other personal customer data such as itineraries, reservations, ticketing, passport numbers, email addresses or other contact information.

"What do you need to do?

"You do not need to do anything. There is no need to change your password or take any other action. Air New Zealand takes data security and privacy seriously and we want to assure you we are working with Star Alliance to ensure stronger systems are in place to prevent any similar issues occurring in the future.

"We do apologise for any inconvenience this has caused."

Well, the only inconvenience so far has been having to read an email that reports nothing has gone wrong.

What is alarming is that major corporations still seem unable to prevent hackers accessing their computer systems. 

Later on I read on Travel Mole that: a 'highly sophisticated' data hack has compromised hundreds of thousands of customers with Star Alliance airlines.

It reported the attack targeted the IT systems of aviation tech company SITA.

"We recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic has raised concerns about security threats, and, at the same time, cyber-criminals have become more sophisticated and active. This was a highly sophisticated attack," SITA said in a statement.

Singapore Airlines was apparently the first airline hacked and SITA has informed Malaysia Airlines, Finnair and Jeju Air that passengers may have been impacted. Air New Zealand has informed its customers. 

Other Star Alliance member airlines include United Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Swiss, SAS and Croatia Airlines.

SITA said it: "Acted swiftly and initiated targeted containment measures. The matter remains under continued investigation by the security incident response team with the support of leading external experts in cyber-security."

Not at all comforting chaps. Lift your game. 

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