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The Air France-KLM data breach

January 13, 2023

By Peter Barnett

Customers of Air France-KLM are receiving notifications that their frequent-flier account data might have been exposed in a data breach, underscoring the potential risks if hackers obtain personal information that consumers may assume isn’t particularly sensitive. Compromised details include customers’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, levels and mileage balances.

The Air France-KLM data breach emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity awareness for everyone. Flying Blue customers are now at risk of highly sophisticated phishing attacks that might combine different communication channels such as email, phone calls, SMS, and messengers. Customers with the highest mileage balance are at the highest risk because a high balance indicates an individual’s ability to pay. Hackers can call victims on behalf of Air France-KLM, provide data on the mileage balance to make them look like a trusted company, and try to lure them into giving away credentials or even transferring money from their bank account to the criminals’ account.

Whenever someone reaches out to you in this way, never trust him. Instead, assume that any data they provide you with could have been leaked before and now it is being used for hacking. Today, the question is not if a breach will happen but when. That works the same way for any company. Think about your bank, grocery store, Starbucks, gym, and movie theater – threat actors can breach any of them and then somehow use stolen data in their attacks.

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