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Cathay Pacific Data Breach Hits 9.4 Million Passengers

Oct. 29, 2018
Travel, Vacations & Trip Planning
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If you’ve flown Cathay Pacific, your personal information could now be in the hands of hackers.

The airline confirmed that about 860,000 passport numbers and 245,000 Hong Kong identity card numbers, along with more than 400 expired credit card numbers are among the data exposed in a breach affecting about 9.4 million customers.

Passenger names, nationalities, dates of birth, telephone numbers, email and physical addresses, and historical travel information were also compromised. No passwords were compromised, according to the airline, which said it is contacting affected Marco Polo Club/Asia Miles members and registered users.

The breach, which took place in March 2018 and was confirmed by investigators in May, was announced on Twitter on Oct. 24, 2018. Twitter users can send a direct message to @cxinfosec for assistance.

“No one’s travel or loyalty profile was accessed in full, no passwords or miles were compromised,” a spokesperson told NerdWallet via Twitter direct message.

The airline says that all credit card numbers obtained were either expired or didn’t have a Card Verification Value, or CVV code, accompanying them, suggesting passengers shouldn’t worry about their credit cards being used by fraudsters. But because Cathay waited so long to announce the breach and because, as of late Oct. 24, 2018, it still wasn’t reported as a notification on the company’s website, Cathay passengers should take every reasonable precaution.

If you’ve flown Cathay in recent years and you’re worried you could be affected, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself.

1. Check your credit card statements dating back to March 2018

Scan for unauthorized purchases you may have overlooked the first time you reviewed the statement.

2. Check your credit reports

You can get one free credit report every year from each of the three major reporting agencies using Annual Credit Report. This is a free service that shows you activity associated with your Social Security number. Your credit score is not included. If you want to see your score, it may be offered as a free service by one of your credit card issuers, many of which now offer access to that number as a membership perk.

3. Consider reporting your credit card number as stolen

Call the number on the back of your card or call your bank directly. They’ll walk you through the steps of getting a replacement card with a new number.

4. Consider putting a freeze on your credit

This will prevent hackers from accessing your credit report and using the information to commit fraud. You can also freeze your credit reports with all three bureaus for free.

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
NerdWallet’s identity theft and cybersecurity guide
Survey: Americans unprepared for another financial data breach
The scariest thing to find on your credit reports

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