Cyber Security Today, May 24, 2021 – Huge international data breach at Air India, and beware of online job scams

Huge international data breach at Air India, and beware of online job scams.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Monday May 24th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cybersecurity for

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This is a holiday weekend in Canada, so if you’re listening thanks for tuning in.

Air India is trying to notify 4.5 million passengers around the world that their personal information was copied by cyber attackers. This is the result of the compromise revealed earlier this year of a company called SITA, which processes data for a number of airlines. Air India says it knew as far back as February that it was one of the victims, but only had confirmation early this month of people’s names. Those affected gave their names, date of birth, contact information, passport information and credit card number to Air India as far back as August, 2011. The stolen credit card information didn’t include the CVV number on the back of cards. Other airlines hit include Lufthansa, Finland’s Finnair, Air New Zealand, Japan’s All Nippon and Japan Airlines, South Korea’s Jeju Air and Singapore Airlines.

Cybersecurity experts are still stunned at a report from Bloomberg News that insurance company CNA Financial paid $40 million to get data back after a ransomware attack. In a commentary one analyst at the SANS Institute pointed out the company notified American regulators and the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which has warned American firms that paying ransoms to banned organizations may face criminal charges. This consultation may or may not avoid legal trouble. Another analyst noted ransomware is nothing more than a type of malware. It’s not a new attack method, it’s a new monetization method. That’s why your firm has to be prepared for it.

Finally, crooks are still trying to get personal information from senior employees by posting phony job offers. One of the latest scams was detailed by security reporter Brian Krebs. It worked like this: A job notice was posted on LinkedIn for an environmental consulting firm. Those who responded were told to email the company’s senior recruiter, and listed that person’s real name. About 100 people applied. The thing is, the email address they were told to use was a gmail address. That should have been a tip-off this is a scam. The goal, of course, is to get applications with personal information which could be used for identification theft and fraud. There’s another sign this was a scam: One person was told her application had been immediately accepted, without the need for a video interview. Last month the FBI warned about online job scams. Some signs include interviews aren’t conducted in-person, or through a secure video call; contact is through email addresses that don’t use the company’s email domain; and candidates are asked to pay for background checks or screenings.

It’s hard these days for job searchers because pandemic is reducing in-office meetings. It’s especially hard if you’re applying for a job where you won’t be in the city where the firm has an office. That’s why you have to be careful with on-line recruiting.

That’s it for now Remember links to details about podcast stories are in the text version at That’s where you’ll also find other cybersecurity stories of mine.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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