British Airways Executive Club members accounts compromised

Pierluigi Paganini March 29, 2015

British Airways Executive Club member accounts were hacked, it isn’t a data breach but hackers used credentials available in the underground.

The popular security expert Graham Cluley reported that Members of British Airways Executive Club are noticing suspicious activities for their accounts. The Members of British Airways Executive Club observed that their accounts were mysteriously emptied of their Avios reward points. The company sent an email to its customers to inform that the experts of the company have discovered an “unauthorised activity” on their account, and as a first mitigation measure of the incident response is resetting users’ passwords.

British Airways data breach

“British Airways has become aware of some unauthorised activity in relation to your Executive Club account.This appears to have been the result of a third part using information obtained elsewhere on the internet, via an automated process, to gain access to your Executive Club account.We understand this was login information relating to a different online service which you may have also used to access your Executive Club account.We would like to reassure you that, although it does appear that the login attempt was successful, at this stage we are not aware of any access to any subsequent information pages within your account, including your flight history or payment card details.We have now locked down your online account to protect it from further access. As part of the lock-down process we have also changed your password and you will need to reset it before you are able to use your account.” states the email.

According to British Airways, Executive Club accounts were compromised because members were sharing same credentials on another web service that could have been hacked. This means that hackers used credentials available in the underground to gain access the accounts belonging to British Airways Executive Club.

Unfortunately, Internet users often share same credentials over multiple services on the web enlarging their window of exposure.

Some experts speculate that British Airways may have zeroed Avios points to avoid abuses.

Another hacked account

Users that want more information on the incident can contact directly the British Airways, anyway let me suggest British Airways Executive Club members to change their password.

As the colleague Cluley highlight there is also the risk of further phishing attacks, so be aware of unsolicited email and do not click on any link they embed.

“But, please, don’t use the link that the BA email includes in its warning message. They should never have included a clickable link when they invited you to reset your password, as that’s a classic trick used by criminals phishing for login credentials.” said Cluley.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  British Airways, data breach)

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