Politicians including Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa are amongst those who have had their personal information leaked following an attack by the notorious Ragnar Locker gang against the country’s national airline TAP.
Back in August, TAP Air Portugal tweeted that although it had been targeted by a cyber attack, it had found no evidence that suggested customer data had been improperly accessed.
Unfortunately for the airline and its customers, databases containing over five million records with details such as passengers’ dates of birth, email addresses, genders, nationalities, phone numbers, physical addresses, and frequent flier numbers were already being circulated via the Ragnar Locker gang’s site on the dark web.
Aside from President de Sousa, other Portuguese MPs, government staff, and members of security forces appear to have been impacted by the data breach.
TAP said that it had seen no evidence that payment data had been retrieved from its systems, but warned passengers that the release of their personal data “could increase the risk of their illegal use, namely aimed at obtaining other data that could compromise the digital systems in fraudulent attempts such as phishing.”
TAP’s CEO, Christine Ourmieres-Widener, has told the media that the airline is “very serious about customer data.”
It’s a shame, therefore, to visit TAP Air Portugal’s website and find that the data breach appears to have been presented to customers in as low key a fashion as possible. Yes, it’s on the main page of the website – but it hardly draws attention to itself.
As with other data breaches, customers would be wise to be extremely careful about unsolicited communications which may request further personal information from recipients (as they could be sent by fraudsters phishing for more details). In addition, affected members of the public would be wise to take care not to click on suspicious links or open unsolicited attachments shared with them via email.
It’s easy to imagine how a fraudster might contact users affected by the data breach via email, using the disguise of an official communication from TAP Air Portugal about the data breach, and duping the unwary to perhaps share their financial details or other sensitive information.
In addition, TAP is recommending that customers change any passwords that they use to access their accounts with the airline, as a matter of precaution.