British Airways fined $25 million over massive data breach

British Airways fined $25 million over massive data breach

On October 16, 2020, the UK Information Commissioner's Office ("ICO") announced its fine of £20,000,000 (approximately $25,850,000) for British Airways ("BA"), which is owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A, for violations of the EU General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR").

Following a two-year investigation, the ICO found that British Airways was processing "a significant" amount of its customers' private data without proper security measures.

The investigation of the United Kingdom data protection watchdog concluded that British Airways failed to protect its customers on multiple levels, missing numerous opportunities to discover and mitigate the hacker attacks that resulted in the data breach.

"People entrusted their personal details to BA and BA failed to take adequate measures to keep those details secure", she said.

The British Airways airline is being fined £ 20 million (close to R $ 145 million) for being the target of a massive data leak that affected thousands of consumers.

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Investigators said BA ought to have identified data weaknesses and resolved them with security measures that were available at the time.

"In June 2019 the ICO issued BA with a notice of intent to fine", the ICO noted in its statement on the reduced fine.

The ICO said "the economic impact of COVID-19" had been taken into account in issuing the fine. The law now gives us tools that encourage more efficient decision-making when it comes to data, including investments in up-to-date security technologies, "commented Elizabeth Denman, an ICO member".

"We alerted customers as soon as we became aware of the criminal attack on our systems in 2018 and are sorry we fell short of our customers' expectations", British Airways said in a statement Friday.

The hacker who attacked British Airways may have had access to the names, addresses and credit card information for some 244,000 customers, regulators said.

Investigators for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found bosses should have spotted security failings which let the attack happen. The attacker was able to redirect customer payment card data from the BA website to a fraudulent site controlled by the attacker, a process referred to as "skimming", for a 15-day period.

Hackers managed to gain access to details on 429,612 customers and staff of the airline.

British Airways revealed that it had been subject to a cyber-attack on September 6, 2018.

It comes as BA boss Alex Cruz is to be replaced by Aer Lingus chief executive Sean Doyle but will stay on as non-executive chairman for a transition period before his successor takes on the role. The airline was accused of threatening a "fire and rehire" scheme which saw some employees facing pay cuts of up to 50 per cent.



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