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Attention: Hackers Steal 9.4 Million In Personal Data


Given the privacy and security landscape of the online world today, the figure of 9.4 million does not come as a surprise. It wasn’t very long ago when accounts of over 50 million Facebook users were¬†exposed to hackers.

But this time it is one of the major airlines Cathay Pacific, at the center of a data breach. Although Cathay Pacific has cleverly turned this breach into a PR stunt citing it as an event that will seek to safeguard passenger data which may be at risk.

When in actual, Hong Kong-based airline was hacked where an estimated 9.4 million user data may have fallen into the wrong hands. And that PR thing above, is basically the airline admitting that they have failed to prevent data leak of its passengers.

Which Data, Exactly?

Well, the data comprised of passenger names, their nationalities, phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, birth dates, ID card information, passport numbers and you name it! One can only imagine the magnitude as it is easily one of the massive breaches of data in recent times.

The hack also included 403 expired credit card numbers, in addition to 27 credit cards without CVV info. You can breathe a sigh of relief that most of this data is not of financial nature but you cannot turn a blind eye to the gravity of what’s happened.

It’s A Jigsaw

Cybersecurity experts are of the opinion that on its own, the information cannot lead to identity theft of the individuals who were hacked but it won’t take a genius to put all the pieces together, just like a jigsaw puzzle which can harm the affectees.

It’s something that we don’t even want to comprehend at this time.

Did They Know?

The management at Cathay Pacific is treading very carefully over this whole issue. It’s not that this attack opened their eyes to the potential flaw in their cyber infrastructure rather they have expressed their concerns on this earlier.

In March of this year, they first expressed their concern over “suspicious activity” on their servers and then in May that unauthorized access to personal information was observed. As if that’s not alarming enough!?

However, the CEO of Cathay Pacific issued an apology (there’s always one) and tried to regain public’s trust in the airline by saying there is no evidence to back up the breach under question.

Only time will tell which way their so-called data security event will sway.

Company’s Credibility

Cathay Pacific’s share price sure took a nosedive but it is also quite possible that they may not have had a mechanism to track this breach at the time. For a company this BIG though, it’s hard to digest, wouldn’t you agree?

If anything, the company’s credibility is at stake here. Firstly, they failed to report the potential cyber discrepancies to GDPR (not on purpose we are saying), when it is incumbent upon businesses to report any such breaches to the legislative body within 72 hours.

Moreover, the management kept public in the dark and didn’t bother highlighting the severity of the matter which led to the compromising of personal data.

Although, any misuse is yet to be reported, in future, if it did that will be on Cathay Pacific.

Am I Safe?

You, as a user, can never be too safe with threats lurking in every corner of the internet. Cyberspace has become a nest for hackers and malware. Nevertheless, not all is lost. You can fare better with a VPN by your side.

Any decent VPN such as Ivacy will help you mask your IP address and lets you surf anonymously whenever you are online. That way any data snoopers or prying eyes (your ISP or government surveillance) cannot monitor your online activities.

It is especially important when you are on public Wi-Fi (in cafes or inflight) thereby enabling you to travel safely and in complete control of your privacy.

Be Smart. Be Wise.

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