Air Canada mobile app breach affects 20,000 people

An Air Canada Boeing 777 on the tarmac at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport north of Paris Aug. 7 2018. Air Canada says 20,000 customers may have had their personal information improperly accessed due to a breach in its mobile app

An Air Canada Boeing 777 on the tarmac at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport north of Paris Aug. 7 2018. Air Canada says 20,000 customers may have had their personal information improperly accessed due to a breach in its mobile app

In the meantime, the company has locked down all mobile app accounts and is instructing users to reset their passwords.

According to Tuesday's alert, the company detected "unusual login behaviour", between August 22 and 24, after which it blocked further access.

As of Wednesday, it seemed customers were taking the advice to heart.

While 20,000 customers represent only approximately one percent of the firm's full customer base, passport numbers have also been thrown into the mix.

The lost data consisted of: Aeroplan number, passport number, NEXUS number for expedited screening, known traveler number, gender, birth date, nationality, passport expiration date, passport country of issue and country of residence. Any of this data may have been improperly accessed.

The airline says even if someone has your information, chances of obtaining a passport in your name are low unless they have original documents and proofs of identity, according to the federal government.

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The airline recently sent an email out to all 1.7 million app users alerting them to the breach, explaining that until customers change their passwords the app will remain in lockdown mode.

Air Canada hasn't said how numerous 20,000 breached accounts were storing this data but any that were are now in the hands of the hackers.

The airline claims that customer's data protection is of paramount importance and that their multi-layered security is working with leading industry experts to continuously improve practices and technology to avoid hacking procedures.

"Airlines are increasingly encouraging travelers to utilize apps to track flight information and access digital boarding passes - but this convenience can introduce new cyber risks that these companies never had to worry about before", Setu Kulkarni, VP of corporate strategy at WhiteHat Security told ZDNet.

"It used to be a matter of if there would be a breach, it's now a matter of when".

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