Thousands of American Airlines and Southwest pilots impacted by third-party data breach


June 26, 2023

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Thousands of American Airlines and Southwest pilots impacted by third-party data breach

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines disclosed on June 23 data breaches impacting the personal information of thousands of pilots.

The two carriers fell victim to the same security incident at a third-party vendor offering professional recruitment support to the air transport industry.

Now, according to the data breach notifications submitted to Maine's Office of the Attorney General, American Airlines said that 5,745 of its pilots and applicants were impacted by the breach, while Southwest reported 3,009 victims.

“On May 3, 2023, Southwest learned that the third-party vendor experienced a data security incident involving certain files within its system,” Southwest said. “Southwest did not experience a cybersecurity incident, and no Southwest networks or systems were affected or compromised. According to the third-party vendor, an unauthorized actor accessed the third-party vendor’s system on or around April 30, 2023, and obtained certain files provided by some Pilot applications.”

American Airlines revealed that the attackers accessed data including some sensitive personal information of pilots and applicants. This includes:

· Name and date of birth

· Social Security and driver’s license numbers

· Passport number and Airman Certificate number

· Other government-issued identification numbers

Both airlines said they have seen no evidence to suggest that accessed information has been used for malicious purposes.

“At this time we have no evidence to suggest that the affected information was targeted or misused for purposes or identity theft,” Southwest said.

Law enforcement and other authorities were also notified, and the two airline carriers are said they’re continuing to investigate. All impacted individuals are urged to watch out for suspicious activity on their financial accounts, and closely scrutinize all unsolicited correspondence.

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Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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