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British Airways A320 (photo: © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund, danishaviationphoto.com)

BA CEO apologises for stolen data

The chief executive apologises after almost 400,000 transactions made during two weeks were hacked into.

Almost 400,000 transactions made via British Airways’ website between August 21 and September 5 were hacked into, the airline has admitted, in the latest of a series of IT problems that have hit BA in recent months.

BA’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, apologised for what he said was a very sophisticated breach of the company’s security systems.

He told the BBC that hackers conducted a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on the website, accessing customers’ personal and financial details but not, he said, travel or passport details.

Finally, once the company noticed the breach, it was “resolved” and the police were notified. All affected customers were contacted “to make sure they contact their credit card bank providers so they can follow their instructions on how to manage that breach of data”, Cruz said.

“Our website is working normally,” BA claimed in a statement, adding that the loss of data only affects people who bought tickets during the above dates.

BA has a network of partners that monitor websites, Cruz explained, and the cyber-attack was first discovered on Wednesday evening when one of these partners alerted the airline.

The airline has published ads in today’s newspapers that apologise for the incident.

The consumer watchdog Which? advises that people who are worried they could be affected should change their online passwords, monitor their bank and online accounts and be wary of scam emails.

BA’s IT issues
This is the latest customer relations issue to hit British Airways in recent months. In July, IT issues caused dozens of flights in and out of London’s Heathrow Airport to be cancelled, something it blamed on outsourcing its IT systems.

In June, more than 2,000 passengers had their tickets cancelled because the fares were set at the wrong price. And in May 2017, the airline’s IT systems crashed leading to hundreds of flight disruptions.

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