Why you should NEVER print out your boarding pass

Why you should NEVER print out your boarding pass

November 21, 2019

Why you should NEVER print out your boarding pass: How cyberhackers can take advantage and cost you a fortune

  • Scammers only need your name, booking reference and frequent flyer number 
  • Fraudsters usually sell frequent flyer points on the dark web for hundreds 
  • A site called Dream Market was selling 100,000 airline miles for about $880 

Passengers who print their boarding passes are susceptible to having their frequent flyer points stolen by hackers, a cyber-security expert has warned. 

The travel industry is the second most attacked sector after finance due to the value of frequent flyer points, which are stolen and sold online by hackers who can take over an account by using the information on a pass.  

‘Paper boarding passes are just inherently insecure,’ cybersecurity consulting firm Cynergis Tek CEO Caleb Barlow told Forbes.  

‘All you need is your name, your booking reference number and your frequent flyer number.’ 

Passengers who print their boarding pass are likely to have their frequent flyer points hacked, a cyber-security expert has warned (stock image) 

Scam artists will usually sell the hacked account on the dark web for hundreds of dollars. 

In one instance, a site called Dream Market was selling 100,000 airline miles for about $880. 

Alternatively, the hacker will transfer the points into another account.  

Mr Barlow said hackers make the assumption travellers aren’t tracking their frequent flyer points in the same way they check their bank accounts.

He also noted that it was easy to convert points into gift cards and other commodities, which can be easily sold.  

Mr Barlow said uploading a photo of a boarding pass on social media is the worst thing a passenger can do. 

Instagram currently has over 116,000 photos of boarding passes under the hashtag #boardingpass, making it easier for fraudsters to get hold of details.  

CEO of cybersecurity consulting firm Cynergis Tek, Caleb Barlow, has advised passengers to use a mobile boarding pass in place of printed passes (stock image) 

‘If you print out a boarding pass and somebody picks it up, only one person is going to get your details,’ Mr Barlow said.  

‘But when you put it on social media, you’re talking about thousands of people who now have your details.’      

Mr Barlow has advised travellers to set up a two-factor authentication on their frequent flyer account to avoid the likelihood of being hacked. 

He has recommended passengers to use a mobile boarding pass via an airline’s app in place of printed passes.  

 

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