Air India servers hacked, passengers’ credit card info, passport details accessed

The servers of Air India were recently hacked, leading to the unethical access of personal information related to scores of passengers, the national carrier said in a statement issued on May 21.

The information stored on the passenger service system includes credit card and passport details. The cyberattack on Air India, according to the airline, has affected the data of around 45 lakh flyers around the world.

“Our data processor of the passenger service system (which is responsible for storing and processing of personal information of the passengers) had recently been subjected to a cybersecurity attack leading to personal data leak of certain passengers. This incident affected around 4,500,000 data subjects in the world,” said the statement issued by Air India.

While admitting that details of credit card have also been breached, the airline clarified that the CVV/CVC numbers – which are key to execute transactions – were not held by its data processor.

“The breach involved personal data registered between 26th August 2011 and 20th February 2021, with details that included name, date of birth, contact information, passport information, ticket information, Star Alliance and Air India frequent flyer data (but no passwords data were affected) as well as credit cards data. However, in respect of this last type of data, CVV/CVC numbers are not held by our data processor,” Air India stated.

The state-owned flight operator noted that it had received the first notification related to the data breach from its data processor on February 25, 2021. However, the identity of affected data subjects was provided on March 25 and May 4, it added.

“While we had received the first notification in this regard from our data processor on 25.02.2021, we would like to clarify that the identity of the affected data subjects was only provided to us by our data processor on 25.03.2021 and 5.04.2021,” the statement said.

Air India also noted that it follows measures to ensure the safety of data and has begun investigating the data security incident. The airline is also securing compromised servers, engaging external specialists of data security incidents, notifying and liaising with credit card issuers, and resetting passwords of Air India’s frequent flyer programme, news agency ANI reported the carrier as stating.

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