In a horrific virtual crime incident, Air India on Friday night announced that over 45 lakh customers' data have been leaked in a massive cyber-attack on its data processor in February this year.
Data including credit cards, passports, and phone numbers were leaked of customers registered between August 26, 2011 to February, 2021.
The Airlines have disclosed the information nearly after three months of receiving the information.
Names, date of birth, contact information and ticket information have also been leaked in the attack that targeted Geneva-based passenger system operator SITA that serves the Star Alliance of airlines including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and United besides Air India.
"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," Air India said in an email to customers.
"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 and 5.04.2021," it added.
"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," the airline said.
"While we and our data processor continue to take remedial actions…We would also encourage passengers to change passwords wherever applicable to ensure safety of their personal data," it said.
Air India said it had launched an investigation into the incident and took steps including securing the compromised servers, engaging external specialists of data security incidents, contacting credit card issuers and resetting passwords of its frequent flyer programme, it added.