Computer

British Airways data hack hits 380,000 recent customers

One of the world’s biggest airlines has been targeted by hackers.

British Airways said the data breach involves around 380,000 customers who used its website or mobile app between August 21 and September 5 to book a flight or vacation.

The U.K.’s flagship carrier confirmed in a message on its website that the personal and financial details of customers had been compromised in the breach, adding that the stolen data did not include any information linked to passports or travel itineraries.

It’s now in the process of contacting affected customers, though at the same time it urged anyone who made transactions using British Airways’ website or app between the specified dates to contact their banks and credit card providers for advice.

The airline also said that its computer systems have now been secured and online services are operating normally again. But as a precautionary measure, it advised affected customers — or those who believe they may have been affected — to visit ba.com and change their password.

British Airways said it was investigating the hack “as a matter of urgency” and will provide updates on the case as and when more information comes to light. The police and relevant authorities have been informed of the data theft, the airline confirmed.

Flights and bookings have not been affected, the airline said, so British Airways customers can turn up at the airport in the knowledge they’ll be able to check-in as usual.

In a statement, Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and chief executive, said: “We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused. We take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously.”

This isn’t the first time British Airways has suffered at the hands of hackers. In 2015, cybercriminals accessed “tens of thousands” of accounts belonging to frequent flier executive club customers, though airline officials insisted no personal information was viewed or stolen in the breach.

While consumers have every right to demand that businesses keep their personal data secure, hardly a week seems to go by without news of another hack affecting huge numbers of people. Targeted businesses will contact you once it discovers that its systems have been compromised, but because it may take time for them to find out — or indeed to share the news — you should always keep an eye on your credit card statements and bank accounts for any suspicious activity.

Cybercriminals in possession of nabbed credit card data may try to sell it via illicit hacking forums, with buyers hoping to use it for online shopping sprees or, if possible, to withdraw money from bank accounts.

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