from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – TRAVELLERS have been warned of the prevalence of hackers using so-called airport selfies to carry out their illegal activities.
An “airport selfie,” or a photo of a traveler’s boarding pass and a passport, is a popular way to let social media followers know they are going abroad.
However, a boarding pass contains personal information that can help hackers to ruin the vacation.
“Even if only the barcode of your flight ticket is visible in the picture, hackers can scan it and find out such information as a traveler’s full name, reservation number, passenger name record, and sometimes even contact information,” said Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cyber security expert at NordVPN.
“This data can later be used by the hacker to ruin a traveler’s vacation by canceling their return flights, stealing money from their payment cards, or even stealing their identity,” the expert added.
Warmenhoven explained after scanning the barcode, hackers can use the data to get into a passenger’s airline account, steal their mileage points or change details for upcoming flights.
Suppose the passenger is not a frequent traveler and they have not collected many mileage points for criminals to steal.
In that case, a hacker might call a traveler up during their trip pretending to be the airline representative and ask for credit card details to confirm a return flight, for example.
Cybercriminals can also gather more information about their victim on social media and then try to call the airline, pretending to be a traveler.
Boarding pass information and other valuable details they may find online can help criminals trick even the most secure travel agency or airline company into sharing their customer’s information.
After collecting this huge amount of data about their victim, criminals can proceed to sell this data on the dark web or even worse, steal the victim’s identity, enabling the hacker to commit fraud like opening credit card accounts or making unauthorized purchases.
“While posting your boarding pass is never safe, there are ways to share your vacation with your followers and stay secure online at the same time,” Warmenhoven said.
Travellers are advised to rather post photos after they are back from vacation, ensure their account settings are set to private, never share personal information on social media and be careful with free public Wi-Fi.
– CAJ News