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Cyber-Security Expert Warns Passengers Not To Print Boarding Passes

Claire Reid

| Last updated 

Cyber-Security Expert Warns Passengers Not To Print Boarding Passes

Featured Image Credit: PA

A security expert has warned travellers not to print off their boarding passes as hackers could get a glimpse of it and use the info to take over a frequent flyer account.

Believe it or not, frequent flyer points - or air miles - are worth a fair bit of money online, something which hackers have realised and are now trying to exploit.

To hack into a frequent flyer account, all someone would need is a name, booking reference and frequent flyer - all of which are right there on the boarding pass and could be easily spotted by a passerby.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

CEO of cyber-security consulting firm Cynergis Tek Caleb Barlow told Forbes: "Paper boarding passes are just inherently insecure. All you need is your name, your booking reference number and your frequent flyer number.

"There could be a couple of basic password reset questions - but I might be able to get the answers to those just by looking on the web. And now that I've got your frequent flyer account."

He went on to say that hackers rely on the fact that most flyers don't regularly check their points balance - and said that the points can be changed over into gift cards and other products, which can then be sold on.

According to Forbes, one website was selling 100,000 airline miles for about $880 (£681).

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Someone seeing your boarding pass by chance is one thing, but Barlow also pointed out an even bigger concern and its one that thousands of people are guilty of - snapping a photo of your passport and boarding pass for the 'Gram.

The security expert went on to say: "If you print out a boarding pass and somebody picks it up, only one person is going to get your details. But when you put it on social media, you're talking about thousands of people who now have your details." So maybe just stick to uploading a photo of your airport pints instead, eh?

Barlow advised passengers to ditch the paper boarding passes and use the mobile version through the airline's app instead.

He also recommend that anyone with a frequent flyer account sets up two-step authentication to keep them points safe.

Topics: World News, Interesting

Claire Reid
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