Lion Air Data Breach Affects 35M Passengers

Lion Air Breach

Discount Indonesian Airline Lion Air Suffers Massive Data Breach – 35 Million Passenger Records Exposed

Personal data of 35 million passengers from two Lion Air subsidiaries was dumped onto online data exchanges. Data from Lion Air subsidiaries, Malindo Air and Thai Lion Air, was leaked online since about mid-August. The sensitive data includes passport details, home addresses, and phone numbers.

It is believed that the passenger data was hacked from a Lion Air Amazon Web Services Inc (AWS) server. The personal data of passengers who flew with Thai Lion Air and Malindo Air were uploaded and stored in an open Amazon Web Services cloud storage bucket that was not protected.

Four databases of hacked passenger data were found in online in data exchange forums. Two files belong to Malindo Airlines and another two belong to Thai Lion Air were all dumped online in a directory created in 2019 May. The databases include 21 million records and 14 million for Malindo Air and Thai Lion Air, respectively. The data has been circulating on exchange forums since 2019 August 10.

Lion Air 737
Credit: Lion Air Fleet Photo

The data was posted in instant messaging service Telegram, as well as on cloud storage and file-hosting services and Both sites still have an active link to the databases.

Hacked data includes passenger and reservation IDs, physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passenger names, birthdates, phone numbers, passport numbers, and passport expiration dates. No payment information was breached.

What is Lion Air?

PT Lion Mentari Airlines, operating as Lion Air, is a low-cost airline based in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is Indonesia’s largest private airline. Malindo Air is a subsidiary of Lion Air that operates 40 routes out of two airports in Kuala Lumpur. Thai Lion Mentari Co. Ltd, or Thai Lion Air, operates from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport. Other Lion Air Subsidiaries include Batik Air, Wings Air, Lion Air Australia, and Lion Langkawi

Malindo Air CEO Chandran Rama Muthy confirmed that Malindo Air would be hiring an independent cyber security firm to do a full forensic analysis on the data breach. The airline is notifying local and international authorities.

Lion Air Data Breach – What to Do

  • Malindo Airlines and Thai Lion Air passengers should change their passwords for their airline portal accounts
  • If airline online account passwords are used on any other online account, as passwords are frequently reused on multiple accounts, the password should be changed on those accounts as well
  • Use a quality identity theft and credit monitoring service
Delta Airlines Airplane
Credit: Delta Airlines Fleet Photo

Recent Airline Data Breaches

It’s not just Lion Air. Other major airlines are increasingly popular targets for hackers, with Delta Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways suffering major breaches recently.

  • 2018 September – Credit cards of 380,000 British Airways customers was hacked. Passenger names and home addresses were also stolen during a fifteen-day long security breach. The cyber attack is believed to be the work of Magecart which skims payment information from eCommerce websites. The credit cards were hacked while the customer went through the online checkout process
  • 2018 October – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. disclosed a data breach in which the personal information on 9.4 million passengers was hacked
  • 2018 April Delta Airlines suffered a data breach through a third-party vendor. In the Delta Airlines data breach, credit card information was stolen

Recent APAC Data Breaches

In July this year, beauty products retailer Sephora Southeast Asia announced a data breach. Online accounts belonging to Hong Kong customers were hacked. Names, birthdate, gender, email address, and passwords were stolen from an undisclosed number of Sephora customers.

In July 2018, Singapore Healthcare System Hacked, SingHealth, was hacked. The personal data of 1.5 million patients including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was hacked.

Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers