British Airways says customer data stolen in data breach

British Airways breach sees hackers take-off with customers' payment details

In a public statement released through the airline's channels, British Airways has admitted that during the period of August 21st to September 5th, its website and mobile app were compromised and that detailed personal and credit card data had been stolen.

The airline this week confirmed that from August 21 until September 5, "the personal and financial details of customers making or changing bookings on our website and app were compromised".

We've reached out to British Airways for more information on exactly what was compromised and if it's confident all of that data was stolen but a representative declined to provide more details.

British Airways has fallen victim to what it describes as a "very sophisticated" attack in which hackers stole financial data relating to hundreds of thousands of customers.

Alex Cruz, BA's chairman and chief executive, said: "We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused".

BA's data breach took place after the introduction of the new Data Protection Act, which includes the provisions of the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In July, almost 7,000 passengers had their flights to or from Heathrow cancelled after a failure of an IT system provided to BA by Amadeus, a Spanish IT provider for global travel industry.

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BA said it had launched an urgent investigation after realising that about 380,000 bank cards used to book its flights had been hacked.

There were reports of banks being inundated with calls, leaving account holders in lengthy queues, while some BA customers said they had to have cards cancelled and reissued as a result.

Luke Brown, VP EMEA at WinMagic, said data loss, data theft and data breach are all phrases which are now part and parcel of the daily news agenda. It is now vital that the company moves quickly to ensure those affected get clear information about what has happened and what steps they should take to protect themselves.

BA said it began notifying affected customers at 22:00 on Thursday evening but that this process had been delayed due to the high volume of emails being sent.

The attack came 15 months after the carrier suffered a massive computer system failure at London's Heathrow airport, which stranded 75,000 customers over a holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, BA's statement revealed that "the information compiled in the hack included names, street addresses, email addresses, credit card numbers and expiration dates, and credit card security codes".

"British Airways continues to investigate with the police and cyber specialists, and has reported the data theft to the Information Commissioner", the company's advisory stated.

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