Time for a new lock

Aviation Business - - EDITOR’S LETTER - Alexan­der Sopho­clis Pieri Ed­i­tor, Avi­a­tion Busi­ness Alexan­[email protected] Twit­ter: @AVB_ME Face­book: face­book.com/ Avi­a­tion Busi­ness Mid­dle East

Amongst the many top­ics that came up re­peat­edly over the course of last month was the is­sue of se­cu­rity. As I’m sure many of you are aware, Cathay Pa­cific re­ported a mas­sive data breach back on the 25 Oc­to­ber, which af­fected more than 9.4 mil­lion pas­sen­ger ac­counts. This marked the third (and big­gest) data breach by a ma­jor air­line within the last four months.

The topic of se­cu­rity also came up dur­ing my re­cent in­ter­view with In­marsat’s CEO, Ru­pert Pearce, who high­lighted his com­pany’s ef­forts in keep­ing their con­nec­tiv­ity so­lu­tions se­cure (Pg. 20). Plus, I was do­ing work­ing the beat at the re­cent GITEX Tech­nol­ogy Week for the GITEX Times, and as a re­sult, got to see the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in the threat land­scape.

Go­ing back to the Cathay Pa­cific hack, what struck me as in­cred­i­ble about the whole af­fair was that the crit­i­cal data leaked in­cluded pass­port de­tails and cer­tain de­tails of credit cards. I know that air­lines tend to keep some of this data on record for their loyalty cus­tomers, but I’m be­gin­ning to won­der if the value out­weighs the risks of that data be­ing there.

I’m un­doubt­edly sim­pli­fy­ing a com­plex is­sue but given that the avi­a­tion in­dus­try has ex­pe­ri­enced quite a num­ber of se­cu­rity breaches as of late, per­haps not enough is be­ing done to pro­tect the data of pas­sen­gers.

Throw in the fact that with in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity be­com­ing a pop­u­lar ser­vice on most ma­jor air­lines, it sim­ply adds even more vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to the at­tack sur­face.

Once peo­ple start con­nect­ing more fre­quently in the air and ac­cess­ing var­i­ous as­pects of their dig­i­tal lives, the more their vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties are ex­posed in the event of a breach.

Get­ting ac­cess to an ac­tive credit is not the end of the world. That can just be can­celled. Get­ting ac­cess to a pas­sen­ger’s credit card, pass­port de­tails, and Face­book ac­count, how­ever, can lead to more ne­far­i­ous uses of that data and that will change lives.

Safe Trav­els!

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