You sure remember the big data breach that targeted the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, right? Well, the same group apparently attacked United Airlines.
The attack didn’t just happen yesterday though, but around the same time the US government was broken into. According to Bloomberg “United, the world’s second-largest airline, detected an incursion into its computer systems in May or early June. […] According to three of these people, investigators working with the carrier have linked the attack to a group of China-backed hackers they say are behind several other large heists — including the theft of security-clearance records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and medical data from health insurer Anthem Inc.”
Now, why would China steal data from two companies that different? Experts believe that United Airlines customer movement together with the background check information that was stolen from the OPM and Anthem, might help them to stockpile information on specific government or military officials – for example spies.
“You’re suspicious of some guy; you happen to notice that he flew to Papua New Guinea on June 23 and now you can see that the Americans have flown there on June 22 or 23,” James Lewis, a senior fellow in cybersecurity at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said. “If you’re China, you’re looking for those things that will give you a better picture of what the other side is up to.”
Even if you and I are not affected this time – what about the next one? Our data is constantly at risk and, when looking at the amount of breaches that were reported in this year alone, way too easy to access. We need to start to protect our data better, before things get even further out of hand.