Report: Hackers May Have Breached Sabre Reservations Systems, American Airlines

Another day, another report that says hackers have been busy plundering major companies. Insiders say the same group of hackers believed to be behind security breaches at Anthem Inc. and the U.S. government’s personnel office have two more victims: Sabre Corp., which processes reservations for hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotels, and American Airlines.

The group of hackers believed to be connected to China is behind this latest spate of attacks, reports Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the investigations.

Both companies were hit during the wave of attacks that targeted Anthem (records of 78.8 million breached) and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (21 million people affected), those insiders tell Bloomberg of the recent cybersecurity probes.

Sabre confirmed that its systems were breached recently, and American says it’s looking into whether or not its computers were accessed by the same hackers, who may have hopped over from Sabre. The two companies share some infrastructure, as Sabre used to be a subsidiary of American until it was spun off in 2000.

This is the same group that is also believed to have hacked United Airlines recently (warning: link has autoplay video), an attack that could’ve exploited passenger manifests and other airline records.

These latest hits haven’t previously been reported, but they could potentially mean trouble for many, many Americans: Sabre has records on more than a billion travelers per year across the globe, the company says, and American Airlines is the world’s largest carrier, meaning it’s got a treasure trove of information as well.

Both companies contacted security experts within the last month to investigate.

“Based on our deep and extensive investigations with the help of outside cybersecurity experts, American has found no evidence that our systems or network have experienced a breach like those at OPM or Anthem,” an American spokesman said, adding that the company is looking into whether or not hackers entered its systems, but that it hasn’t confirmed anything yet. “We are working closely with our partners to further investigate.”

Sabre says it “recently learned of a cybersecurity incident” and was investigating, but didn’t elaborate on what data could’ve been stolen.

“We are not aware that this incident has compromised sensitive protected information, such as credit card data or personally identifiable information, but our investigation is ongoing,” Sabre said in a statement.

Though sources are linking the hackers to China, a spokesman for that country’s embassy called any accusations that China was involved in the hacks “unfounded” and “counterproductive.”

“The Chinese government and the personnel in its institutions never engage in any form of cyberattack. We firmly oppose and combat all forms of cyberattacks,” he said.

American Airlines, Sabre Said to Be Hit in Hacks Backed by China [Bloomberg News]

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