Last updated: 04:43 PM ET, Fri August 07 2015

Sabre Corp. Hacked, American Airlines Investigating Possible Breach

Travel Technology | Ryan Rudnansky | August 07, 2015

Sabre Corp. Hacked, American Airlines Investigating Possible Breach

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Sabre Corporation was reportedly hacked recently by China-based hackers, while American Airlines said it is investigating whether its systems have been breached, according to Bloomberg Business.

Sabre, a major travel technology and solutions provider, offers software, data, mobile and distribution solutions that are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotels in 160 countries around the world. It holds records of more than one billion travelers per year.

Sabre issued the following statement, per CBS Dallas/Fort Worth:

“Like most technology companies, Sabre experiences cyber security incidents. We recently learned of a cyber security incident, and we are conducting an investigation into it now. At this time, we are not aware that this incident has compromised sensitive protected information, such as credit card data or personally identifiable information, but our investigation is ongoing. We are committed to protecting sensitive information, and we are being assisted by experts that specialize in cyber security. We will share additional information as appropriate.”

American Airlines is investigating whether it was hacked by the same Chinese group. An American Airlines spokesperson said the carrier has yet to find any evidence that customer data was accessed.

“Based on our deep and extensive investigations with the help of outside cybersecurity experts, American has found no evidence that our systems or network have experienced a breach like those at OPM or Anthem,” the spokesperson said, via Bloomberg Business.

U.S. investigators have linked the hacks back to one particular China-based hacker group, which has allegedly been responsible for several large-scale hacks recently. That includes accessing data from health insurance company Anthem Inc., the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and United Airlines—the world’s second-largest carrier. According to cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc., the group has hacked 10 different companies since 2013.

“They’re doing this in large numbers—that’s why they’re so successful,” said Tony Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer of VOR Technology, via Bloomberg Business. “The Chinese are what I would call the bullies of cyberspace: Everybody knows what they’re doing, but nobody can stop them. These state actors, their job is to gather intelligence on other nations.”

Zhu Haiquan, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said the linking to the Chinese hacker group was “unfounded” and “counterproductive,” according to Bloomberg Business.

“The Chinese government and the personnel in its institutions never engage in any form of cyberattack,” he said. “We firmly oppose and combat all forms of cyberattacks.”

In the OPM breach, hackers reportedly accessed the personnel records of every person reviewed by the government personnel office in the last 15 years, some 22 million people.

In the Anthem breach, hackers reportedly stole the Social Security numbers of more than 80 million customers.


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