British Airways (BA) has confirmed that the frequent flyer accounts of thousands of executive customers have been hacked.
The company said in a statement that it was “aware of some unauthorised activity” that had affected “a small number of frequent flyer Executive Club accounts”.
The intrusion was carried out using information on account holders gathered from other sources on the web, according to BA, suggesting that there was not a direct hack of the airline's systems.
“This appears to have been the result of a third party using information obtained elsewhere on the internet, via an automated process, to try to gain access to some accounts,” BA said in a statement.
The airline added that it does not believe any sensitive information has been affected.
“We would like to reassure customers that, at this stage, we are not aware of any access to any subsequent information pages within accounts, including travel histories or payment card details.”
“My Avios balance, which was 46,418 yesterday, is suddenly zero,” wrote one. Another said: “217,000 taken from my account this morning. 30 minute hold on the silver line.”
Others said that having spoken to BA on the phone they were told that the accounts were locked as a result of the breach and that points would be reinstated.
“We are taking this incident seriously and have taken a number of steps to lock down accounts so they can no longer be accessed,” BA added in its statement.
The hack comes about a week after it was revealed that a major security flaw with the Hilton Hotels & Resorts 'Hilton Honors' account systems let anyone hack into an account simply by guessing or knowing the nine-digit number.
In other airline industry IT news, V3 revealed last week that Ryanair has chosen to use NoSQL technology from Couchbase to create a new customer-focused mobile app.
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