Chinese Hackers Reportedly Hit United Airlines

United Airlines is the latest to fall victim to a data breach. The hackers stole flight manifests, which disclose information about passengers on the flight and their destinations. News reports are pointing fingers at hackers backed by China.

Some are attributing the attacks to the same group that attacked health insurer Anthem and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In February, Anthem informed millions of its customers that hackers had gained access to the company's computers, potentially stealing personal information of 80 million former and current customers. In June, OPM said a hack affecting its systems compromised the personal information of 21.5 million current and former federal workers.

Tim Erlin, director of IT security and risk strategy for advanced threat protection firm Tripwire, told us if investigators are accurate about whose behind the attacks, these bad actors have amassed a vast database of information that could be used for multiple purposes, from economic espionage to political gain.

A Strong Argument

EUHow they connect these data points together will determine the outcome, but itEUs clearly not good for the United States,EU Erlin said. EUAs is often the case early in a breach investigation, details on exactly how the attackers succeeded in penetrating United Airlines systems is unclear. It will likely be months before we know more, but itEUs imperative that details are shared with other organizations so that we can collectively improve defenses.EU United Airlines was not immediately available for comment.

As has happened with other breaches, attackers often hide inside an organizationEUs network for months before they're detected, Erlin said. He argued that standard detection tools are simply not performing or are not implemented correctly. His advice: Companies and government agencies need to take a critical look at how they can identify whatEUs changing in their environments, and assess how those...

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