United Airlines Hacked by Sophisticated Hacking Group Tied to Various High-Profile Breaches

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A group of China-based hackers believed to be responsible for a number of high-profile data breaches, including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and health insurance giant Anthem, have targeted another high-profile company hacking into United Airlines.

United Airlines detected the cyber attack on their computer systems in late May, leading into early June, Bloomberg reported, citing various anonymous sources briefed on the matter.

Sources close to the matter believe hackers responsible for the data breach of the United Airline’s systems are the same group of Chinese-based hackers that cashed out on many previous cybercriminal heists. Two of the most severe data breaches of all time have been a direct result of the hacking groups, stealing 21.5 million records at the Office of Personal Management and hacking into the number one health insurance giant Anthem Inc.

Data hackers managed to get off with contains information on flight passengers, along with their origin and destination, meaning hackers retain “data on the movements of Millions of Americans.”

The United Airlines breach could be far more severe then it appears, as they are the second-largest airliner and a major contractor with the U.S. government travel. Experts warn that the United Airlines hack could expose specific government or military officials whereabouts.

Bloomberg suggests that with the hackers vast combination of security-clearance records from the OPM, data stolen from Anthem, alongside the latest cache of United Airlines information, hackers could put American Intelligence officers at risk of blackmail.

Evidence suggests that hackers were in the carrier’s networks for months. A domain setup by hackers specifically to target airline employee’s, United-Airlines[dot]net, was first registered in April 2014. Suggesting hackers may have began targeting the company as early as last April.

United Airlines is no stranger to the security of their systems and more specific, vulnerabilities lodged within their systems. Just two weeks ago a pair or security researchers found a gaping security hole in the company’s website, landing the hackers a reward of 1.25 million frequent flier miles.

[Photo via Lasse Fuss/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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Brandon Stosh is the founder and CEO of www.freedomhacker.net. Stosh is a cyber security researcher and professional consultant who strives to provide reliable news on cyber-security based topics.

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