This afternoon, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, the Hong Kong flag carrier, has become the most recent airline to be affected by a vast data breach, after admitting that someone was able to gain “unauthorised access” to the information of up to 9.4 million of its passengers.
Approximately 860,000 passport numbers, around 245,000 Hong Kong identity card numbers, 403 expired credit card numbers and 27 credit card numbers that have no card verification value (CVV) were accessed in the said breach.
The passengers of Cathay and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited. its unit, are being informed regarding the breach by the employees of the airline today, with the firm saying that it has no evidence of data being misused or accounts being compromised.
It is the most recent airline to be affected by a data breach, coming a month after British Airways revealed that hackers were able to steal the financial information of some of its customers from its website and mobile app.
Also, Air Canada has recently revealed that its mobile app had been hacked in a breach that potentially affected as much as 20,000 people.
A number of firms in the United Kingdom have also fallen victim to similar cyberattacks during the past months, with Dixons Carphone issuing an apology in late July for a data breach that happened last year which affected the personal information of almost 9 million extra people.
According to the European Aviation Safety Agency, there were approximately 1,000 cyber attacks every month on aviation systems in 2016, with groups including Vietnam Airlines having to carry out airport operations by hand after some hackers corrupted the website of the company.
In a statement, Rupert Hogg, the Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific stated: “We are very sorry for any concern this data security event may cause our passengers.”
He added: “We acted immediately to contain the event, commence a thorough investigation with the assistance of a leading cybersecurity firm, and to further strengthen our IT security measures.”