British Airways has revealed that personal and financial details of its customers who made bookings between Aug. 21 and Sept. 5 have been stolen.
The airline said that the data breach compromised the bank cards of 380,000 customers. Passengers’ travel and passport details, however, were not affected by the nearly two-week long hack.
British Airways said that it has launched an investigation to look into the theft of customer data, and has already notified the police and relevant authorities about the incident. The flagship carrier and the largest airline in the U.K. has also started to contact affected customers.
The company urged those who made transactions through the British Airways’ website or app within the affected time period to contact their credit card providers and banks to ask for advice. It also encouraged those who believe that they have been affected by the cyberattack to visit the Ba.com website and change their password.
“At the moment, our number one purpose is contacting those customers that made those transactions to make sure they contact their credit card bank providers so they can follow their instructions on how to manage that breach of data,” British Airways’ boss Alex Cruz told the BBC.
Digital Trends said that cybercriminals may sell the stolen card data through illicit hacking forums. The buyers may use the stolen credentials for online shopping sprees or even withdraw money from the compromised bank accounts.
The airline said that the breach has already been resolved and the website is now working normally. It also apologized for the disruption caused by the incident.
British Airways likewise assured customers that it takes the protection of their data seriously and that it will provide compensation for those affected by the criminal activity.
“Every customer affected will be fully reimbursed and we will pay for a credit checking service,” British Airways said in a statement, adding that it will manage claims on an individual basis.
This is not the first time that the airline fell victim to hackers and IT disasters albeit the most recent data theft is one of the most serious breaches to hit the company.
British Airways also suffered a computer system outage due to a power surge in its control center last year. This resulted in a global flight interruption that left thousands of passengers stranded in the airport. In 2015, the airline admitted that a security breach compromised tens of thousands of frequent flyer accounts.