Asiana Airlines is the latest travel supplier to fall victim to a data breach. The Korean airline was found to have been housing approximately 47,000 customer documents containing personal information of travelers on their website, including scanned passports, home addresses, bank account information and more.
In a statement posted to its website, Asiana Airlines stated that "this security breach is limited to ONLY those customers who uploaded and/or attached documents through the "Contact Us" feature on Asiana Airlines’ website from May 2015 to the morning of July 18, 2016." Tech Insider reports that victims could potentially include any traveler who has traveled or has plans to travel on Asiana Airlines or any of its Star Alliance partners - providing that these travelers interacted with Asiana via their contact form.
Asiana Airlines stated that they are currently investigating the data breach and will contact affected travelers directly.
If you have been affected by this data breach, the first place to go would be the FTC's Identity Theft Resource Guide as well as IdentityTheft.gov. These sites will give you a starting point and will help you to stay ahead of any thieves that may intend to use your personal information. The BBC also has some great tips and resources.
It's virtually impossible to completely safeguard your personal information as an internet user. Travel and doing business online typically requires putting some trust in the websites and security of the businesses we interact with. However, there are some steps you can take to help mitigate risks.
Be very cautious with the kinds of information you share and the places that you share it. Customer contact forms are often not secure and sharing information such as passport numbers via these forms are not advised. Look for the lock symbol in your browser's address bar to verify that the page is encrypted prior to considering sharing your information online. You can also view our article on the Omni Hotels data breach last week for additional information on safeguarding passwords. That wouldn't have been directly helpful in this instance but if you do become a victim of identity theft, a strong password policy can really help to limit the damage.
Finally, you can visit Travel and Transport's Ultimate Guide to Protecting your Personal and Fnancial Data for more resources and tips on how to protect your information.