In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about how hacks can occur in just about any industry. Some of the ones I have illustrated included the ones in the retail industry (such as the likes of Home Depot, Target, to just name a few), the restaurant industry (this includes the credit card theft at Appebees and all of the other associated franchises), and yes, even the social media circles (and of course, this includes Facebook-here, the saga never ends, now I just read a story where some 2.2 million accounts were just hacked into).
Now today, I came across a news wire in which yet another industry seems to be affected – and of all things, it is the airline industry. With these guys, you always hear about lost luggage, pets dying in the cargo hold, passengers being thrown off the plane nilly-willy, bad food, delays, customer mistreatment, etc. But Cyber attack? Yes, this is a new one to me. Perhaps they existed before, but this is the first I have heard of one.
It all starts with Delta Air Lines, and their website. We all know that they have a chatting mechanism, in which supposedly a live operator will respond to questions in real time. Of course, we really do not know who is actually behind the scenes in all of this, so of course, you have to exercise some reasonable amount of caution – after all, you don’t want to give away your personal and confidential information (especially your credit card number).
Well, this is the case. Apparently, there was a recent security breach with the online chatting agent. With this, it also put some of their customer’s credit card and other payment information at grave risk (not exactly sure how this could happen – unless these customers gave actually submitted their credit card information to the chat agent).
This incident occurred from the period of September 26th to October 12th. On their website, Delta also noted that those customers that were impacted by this will not be held responsible for any illegtimate transactions that occurred. If you want to see if you have been impacted by this, or want more information or even have questions, Delta has launched a special website at this link:
On the good news though Delta did say that other sensitive information such as passport numbers or SkyMiles were not affected by this security breach at all. They also informed law enforcement agencies rather quickly, and they are at the current time investigating this incident.
According to Delta: “At this point, even though only a small subset of our customers would have been exposed, we cannot say definitively whether any of our customers’ information was actually accessed or subsequently compromised.” (SOURCE: https://www.ajc.com/business/delta-says-online-chat-cyber-security-breach-put-some-customer-payment-info-risk/e2H4Aecfm9lERMNPIWpWCN/).
The moral of the story here is, even when you are chatting with an online agent for anything or any reason (does not have to be an airline based one) you really have to have your guard up in what you communicate. In a way, this is also very similar to those Phishing based emails. It is always preferable to talk to a live agent on the phone, but if this is not possible, then you will have to deal with the online agent.
Me personally, I have never had issues with an online agent, but I don’t use them that much. Sure, there were a few that seemed suspect, so I just ignored them. Here is another rule of thumb: If the organization is legitimate, then chatting with the online agent should be reasonable secure. I have had to do this on occasion as well, if it was after business hours. But then there are also those websites which will not let see the content on the website until you have initiated a conversation with an agent. In these cases, just log out of website. It’s just not worth your time and will most likely be a grave security risk. In the end, as I have said before, just trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, then most likely, it is not.