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Hackers Steal Personal Data of 8,000 Aspiring Pilots, Airlines Respond Quickly

Updated: Jan 5

Hackers breach recruiting company database, compromising personal data of over 8,000 aspiring pilots, prompting airlines' immediate response.

American Airlines
Credits: AP Photo

Personal information for more than 8,000 applicants aiming to become pilots at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines was stolen in a recent data breach.

Hackers successfully infiltrated the database of Pilot Credentials, a recruiting company based in Austin, Texas, on April 30. The airlines were informed of the breach on May 3 and promptly notified affected job seekers during the past week.

Regulatory filings revealed that the hackers gained access to crucial applicant details, including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, passport numbers and driver and pilot-license numbers for those applying to pilot and cadet positions. A total of 5,745 applicants for American Airlines and 3,009 applicants for Southwest Airlines were impacted by this breach and a significant number of them were subsequently hired by the airlines.

The Allied Pilots Association, the representative body for American Airlines' pilots, expressed concern as approximately 2,200 of its members were among those affected. Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the association, criticised American Airlines for delaying the notification to the victims for more than seven weeks after discovering the breach. American Airlines has yet to respond to these allegations.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737
Credits: AP Photo

While there is no evidence of the stolen information being used for fraudulent activities or identity theft, American Airlines has taken steps to alleviate potential risks. Each affected applicant will receive two years of coverage from an identity theft protection service offered by the airline.

Both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have adjusted their recruitment procedures in response to the breach. They now conduct their recruitment exclusively through their own websites, eliminating reliance on external recruiting companies.

American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas and Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, are actively cooperating with law enforcement agencies in their investigation of this breach.

  • Hackers infiltrated Pilot Credentials, compromising personal data of over 8,000 pilot applicants for American and Southwest Airlines.

  • Stolen information includes names, birth dates, Social Security and passport numbers and driver and pilot-license numbers.

  • 5,745 applicants for American Airlines and 3,009 for Southwest Airlines were affected.

Source: AP NEWS

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