Cathay Pacific Data Breach to Affect 9.4 Million People

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER in Dusseldorf (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific announced that its computer systems had been compromised this past Wednesday.

The data breach occurred seven months ago and is reported to compromise personal data of around 9.4 million passengers.

Information such as phone numbers, dates of birth, passport numbers, and frequent flier numbers were exposed.

The airline added that 27 credit card numbers had also been acquired in the breach.

Cathay is currently investigating the incident and has not announced whether the responsible parties have been identified.

“We are very sorry for any concern this data security event may cause our passengers. We acted immediately to contain the event, commence a thorough investigation with the assistance of a leading cybersecurity firm, and to further strengthen our IT security measures,” said the airline’s chief executive, Rupert Hogg.

The airline also added that the IT systems that were affected only impacted passenger information and had no effect on flight operations systems or flight safety.

The airline industry has been susceptible to many high-profile data breaches over the past few months. In September, British Airways discovered that 380,000 transactions from the airline’s website and app had been stolen. Additionally, Air Canada restricted mobile app access to 1.7 million users after a potential data breach was believed to compromise customer information.

Delta Air Lines also announced that customer information had been leaked after one of its online service providers had a security breach this past April.

The resulting data breach has caused a major impact on the airline’s financials, which have been in decline for quite some time.

Shares for the airlines have slid seven percent, down to a nine-year low as of earlier this week.

Akhil Dewan

Akhil Dewan

An “AvGeek” for most of his life, Akhil has always been drawn to aviation. If there is an opportunity to read about an airline, fly on a new airplane, or talk to anyone about aviation, he is on it. Akhil has been on over 20 different kinds of aircraft, his favorite being the MD-80. Additionally, he has visited 5 continents and plans to knock out the remaining two (Africa and Antarctica) soon. Based in Dallas, Akhil graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Management Information Systems and currently works in consulting. His dream is to become an airline executive.
Akhil Dewan