App-y Holidays? Air Canada Data Breach Puts Passport Details at Risk

by: The Knowledge Group

September 19, 2018


Air Canada’s app has been hacked. The hack exposes flyers’ sensitive customer information to evildoers. This digital breach is especially damaging as customer passport numbers are now within the purview of cyber miscreants. Though Air Canada has responded with a well-organized response in an attempt to save face and prevent a subsequent breach, the hack will undoubtedly send some customers to competing airlines. All in all, the personal data of tens of thousands of Air Canada customers are now in the hands of cyber thieves.

Details of the Air Canada Hack


Air Canada customers who entered their passport information into the company’s app now have to deal with the fact that their data is likely stolen. Odd login activity occurred on the Air Canada app between August 22 and August 24. The company locked all of its 1.7 million customer accounts. The response was not quick enough as data from more than 20,000 accounts have been stolen. Air Canada instructed all customers to reset their login credentials.

Online hackers have the potential to use the stolen passport details for identity theft. Though Air Canada executives are not providing much information as to how the hack occurred, the company has come under fire for its comparably weak password system that accepts numbers and letters but denies special characters. Air Canada representatives recently stated the company will enhance its password guidelines in an effort to improve security standards and prevent another hack in the future.

The Extent of the Hack


Air Canada customers’ credit card information is encrypted so it appears to have been protected throughout the unfortunate event. However, customer passport information, names, phone numbers, and email addresses were exposed. Company representatives state passport details including passport numbers, expiration dates, country of issuance, birth dates and other important passport information has been exposed to hackers.

How Air Canada Customers Should Proceed


Air Canada representatives have advised customers to review their financial transactions, monitor their credit rating and bring any usual activity to the attention of financial services providers. All Air Canada app users should assume they have been affected by the breach and start fresh with a new username and password. The airline’s hack is just another example of cyber thieves stealing sensitive personal information from seemingly trustworthy businesses. Though Air Canada has altered its login requirements in the aftermath of the hack, it is a clear sign any information customers enter into websites and apps has the potential to fall into the hands of wrongdoers.


Related Webcast: Synthetic Identity Fraud: Best Practices to Combat and Prevent the Evolving Threat (On-Demand)

Continuing Education Credit: 1.5 CLE