Hackers share personal data of 1.5 million TAP passengers
The purported message from cyberattackers who claim they still have access to TAP's IT systems

Hackers share personal data of 1.5 million TAP passengers

Airline assures ‘payment details’ have not been compromised

Ransomware gang Ragnar Locker has said today that it continues to have access to the IT systems of Portugal’s ‘flagship’ airline TAP.

In a hugely embarrassing twitter post, the group has actually accused TAP of reacting to its cyberattack by trying “to do anything but actually protect customer data”.

“In an attempt to hide the truth they even attacked our resource, “very reasonable” solution for such a serious company. They are much closer to hackers, scammers or abusers than to legal business”.

The group – which could be Russian, or from the East (but no-one can be sure) – plundered TAP’s IT system at the end of August. They demanded ‘a ransom’ to release seized information.

Yesterday, a 581GB document was published on the Dark Web. According to Expresso this is due to TAP’s refusal to give in to the group’s ‘ransom’ demands.

The document includes clients’ names, addresses and telephone numbers.

According to the latest post by Ragnar Locker, TAP does not keep client data in any kind of encrypted form. It “just lay in a public file-server in a readable form”, says the post, warning readers that they should “think twice” when signing user agreements for data processing. “Most likely your private data will be stored as unimportant files, just anywhere and in clear text even on desktop or shared folders”.

TAP raced into damage-control shortly after the attack. The company’s line was that the “intrusion was contained in an initial phase, before provoking damage in processing operations.

TAP’s operations are taking place with normality”, the company assured, even after data of 115,000 clients was published last week.

Right now, the PJ judicial police, Microsoft and the national centre for cybersecurity is working on the intrusion.

Last week, the European Commission stressed it was covered by a new legislation.

But the reality is that this ‘gang’ appears to be many steps ‘ahead’ of its pursuers, and with an edge on technology.

It is presumably still hopeful that TAP will pay the ransom demanded (we are not given more details).

TAP is in a deeply compromising position as it has been losing millions of euros for years; it is the beneficiary of €3.2 billion in State aid (something that has inflamed political parties in Opposition)- and the government is keen to sell it before the end of the year.

The airline has also just weathered a very challenging summer in which passenger complaints hit new heights, and where CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener was forced to admit “we are not offering quality service.”

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com