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KQ suffers passenger data breach in cyber attack

 Cybercriminals attacked Kenya Airways’ (KQ) information systems and obtained sensitive information.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Cybercriminals attacked Kenya Airways’ (KQ) information systems and obtained sensitive information, including contact details and identification documents, of passengers and staff of the airline, an authoritative source at KQ has confirmed.

The cyber attack, which occurred late last month, led to unauthorised access to police investigation reports, phone numbers, email addresses, and passports of an unspecified number of people, notably past passengers and staff members, for which the attackers demanded ransom.

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, said the carrier declined to pay the ransom demanded and has since “taken the necessary precautions relating to the incident and is collaborating with national security agencies to ensure that all protocols are followed.”

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner was informed of the incident and those whose personal data was obtained informed of the breach, in line with data protection laws, the official confirmed.

While he did not confirm the magnitude of the breach or who was behind the attack, he said the crime did not affect their booking system and “had no impact on the airline’s operations.”

“Following the incident, there have been enhanced IT security measures taken to safeguard airlines systems and data,” the source told the Business Daily.

This admission comes after a notorious cybercrime group known as RansomExx posted the data they allegedly hacked from KQ’s information systems on December 30, 2023 on its leaks website accessible through the dark web.

The information includes identification documents of senior government officials, staff death announcements, accident investigations and reports on inquiries into cases of sexual harassment by staff.