Last updated: 04:24 PM ET, Thu June 23 2016

Air India Frequent Flyer Program Hacked

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | June 23, 2016

Air India Frequent Flyer Program Hacked

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Hackers are causing havoc for Air India as the airline’s frequent flyer program was targeted in an orchestrated attack that resulted in the loss of 1.6 million Indian Rupees (around $23,700) worth of travel miles.

According to the Times of India, the Air India frequent flyer program—known as Flying Returns—consists of 195,000 customer accounts, and was hacked by what authorities believe are people with advanced knowledge about how the internal systems work.

Police from Delhi claim the virtual attack may have been aided by an insider with Air India or a travel agency staffer. Investigators believe the hackers created several email accounts to divert reward miles earned by Flying Returns program members.

Authorities have launched virtual and a physical manhunts for suspects in the case. Investigators have found an IP address of a suspected computer and are working with the internet provider to obtain more personal information.

“All the affected membership accounts have been suspended so that no further activity can take place from these accounts,” Air India commercial manager Praveen Lal told the Times of India. “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.”

“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,” a police officer speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Times of India. “We have asked the airline to supply us a list of employees who have quit the company recently.”


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