Air India and Delhi police have begun probe after cyber criminals hacked 20 accounts of Air India’s frequent flyer program and stole flying miles worth Rs 16 lakh. Air India has temporarily suspended affected membership accounts. Also Read - PUBG Mobile: Grandson uses Rs 2.3 lakh for in-game purchases
“All the affected membership accounts have been suspended so that no further activity can take place from these accounts. The affected user IDs have been deactivated along with user IDs that have identical usernames and passwords. Also, all such user IDs that have not been active for the past three months have been deactivated,” an Air India officer told TOI. Also Read - Elon Musk slams Twitter and Google for rising scams, fake bots
After the breach, Air India had approached Delhi police for a probe to be conducted on a priority. The cops are now tracking passengers who are using tickets booked through the hacked flying miles in order to nab the culprits. Police is suspecting role of cyber criminals, travel agents as well as former employee of the airline behind the crime. Reportedly, the cops have found the IP address of a suspect computer, which for now is the only lead on the case. Also Read - Online scam: Bengaluru man loses Rs 95,000 after ordering a 'pizza' from Zomato
“Apart from the computer hacker, we suspect the role of a present or a former employee who may be aware of the intricacies and loopholes in the system. We have asked the airline to supply us a list of employees who have quit the company recently,” a senior police official is quoted as saying.
The frequent flyer program of Air India, called the Flying Returns, has a total of 19.5 lakh accounts. Under the program, flyers get a particular percentage of the amount as flying miles with each trip they take through the airline. Essentially, this is a loyalty program wherein you collect points that can be redeemed later. Such loyalty programs are quite popular among the frequent passengers.
This is not the first time an airline has suffered cyber attack that affected its loyalty program. In a similar case in April this year, a former Florida International University student was accused of hacking into the AAdvanatge accounts, the frequent flyer program of American Airline, and siphoned enough money to book tickets and rental cars worth $2,60,000.