Another day, and here comes another cyber attack incident. This time it is a massive one and has affected many in India as well as globally. Personal data of 45 lakh Air India passengers globally has been leaked in a recent cybersecurity attack, and this has been confirmed by the airline itself.

Hackers reportedly targeted Air India’s passenger service system that exposed crucial information such as credit card and passport details, among others. The incident was verified by the airline on Friday.

In an official statement, Air India stated, “This is to inform that SITA PSS our data processor of the passenger service system (which is responsible for storing and processing of personal information of the passengers) had recently been subjected to a cybersecurity attack leading to personal data leak of certain passengers. This incident affected around 4,500,000 data subjects in the world.”

The cybersecurity breach involved personal data registered with the airline between August 26, 2011 and February 3, 2021. The exposed data of passengers include name, date of birth, contact information, passport information, ticket information and credit cards details. Air India clarified that CVV/CVC data of the credit card holders were not stored in the company’s database.

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Commenting on the incident, Air India said, “the breach involved personal data registered between 26th August 2011 and 3rd February 2021, with details that included name, date of birth, contact information, passport information, ticket information, Star Alliance and Air India frequent flyer data (but no passwords data were affected) as well as credit cards data. However, in respect of this last type of data, CVV/CVC numbers are not held by our data processor.

While we had received the first notification in this regard from our data processor on 25.02.2021, we would like to clarify that the identity of the affected data subjects was only provided to us by our data processor on 25.03.2021 & 5.04.2021. The present communication is an effort to apprise of accurate state of facts as on date and to supplement our general announcement of 19th March 2021 initially made via our website,” the airline added.

Air India has requested all passengers to change the passwords to their account on the official Air India website as well as wherever else applicable.

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