Cybersecurity is a big concern for consumers in the current pandemic. As fraudsters take advantage of anxious citizens, EasyJet is the latest company to have come under attack from hackers.
The company has reported that its database has been accessed by a “highly sophisticated” cyber attack, compromising the personal data of an estimated 9 million customers.
Why has the threat of cyber attacks increased?
With many businesses, including offices and other workspaces, forced to close, warnings have been issued about the increased threat of cyber attacks, hacking, and fraud.
Businesses are working with minimum staff and, as Andrew Tsonchev, director of technology at cybersecurity firm Darktrace said in an interview with CNBC, attacks are to be expected.
“It comes as no surprise that well-known organizations who are very publicly affected by the pandemic — and are known to have furloughed lots of staff — would be the targets of sophisticated cyberattacks, with the potential to cause significant reputational damage,” he said.
He added, “Globally we’ve seen an uptick in highly targeted and sophisticated attacks like these. Access ‘downstream’ to clients and customer data is often the goal of these attacks, as withholding this data secures not only secures a quick ransom payout at a time when companies are keen to keep cost down, but can also provide vital nuggets of information to launch secondary attacks.”
What happens next?
For the 9 million consumers that have had their personal details – including email addresses, card details, and travel information – compromised, this is a worrying development. However, the airline says anyone affected will be compromised this week.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in a statement that the firm is taking this seriously, but the “evolving threat as cyber attackers get ever more sophisticated.”
The airline has advised customers to be “extra vigilant”, especially if they are contacted by someone claiming to be from EasyJet. Also, consumers should check for any unusual activity on their EasyJet account or their bank and credit card accounts.