Introduction: In today’s time, everything is online, and the world is interconnected. Cases of data breaches and cyberattacks have been a reality for various organisations and industries, In the recent case (of SAS), Scandinavian Airlines experienced a cyberattack that resulted in the exposure of customer details, highlighting the critical importance of preventing customer privacy. The incident is a wake-up call for Airlines and businesses to evaluate their cyber security measures and learn valuable lessons to safeguard customers’ data. In this blog, we will explore the incident and discuss the strategies for protecting customers’ privacy in this age of digitalisation.
Analysing the backdrop: The incident has been a shocker for the aviation industry, SAS Scandinavian Airlines has been a victim of a cyberattack that compromised consumer data. Let’s understand the motive of cyber crooks and the technique they used :
Motive Behind the Attack: Understanding the reasons that may have driven the criminals is critical to comprehending the context of the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault. Financial gain, geopolitical conflicts, activism, or personal vendettas are common motivators for cybercriminals. Identifying the purpose of the assault can provide insight into the attacker’s aims and the possible impact on both the targeted organisation and its consumers. Understanding the attack vector and strategies used by cyber attackers reveals the amount of complexity and possible weaknesses in an organisation’s cybersecurity defences. Scandinavian Airlines’ cyber assault might have included phishing, spyware, ransomware, or exploiting software weaknesses. Analysing these tactics allows organisations to strengthen their security against similar assaults.
Impact on Victims: The Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) cyber attack victims, including customers and individuals related to the company, have suffered substantial consequences. Data breaches and cyber-attack have serious consequences due to the leak of personal information.
1)Financial Losses and Fraudulent Activities: One of the most immediate and upsetting consequences of a cyber assault is the possibility of financial loss. Exposed personal information, such as credit card numbers, can be used by hackers to carry out illegal activities such as unauthorised transactions and identity theft. Victims may experience financial difficulties and the need to spend time and money resolving these concerns.
2)Concerns about privacy and personal security: A breach of personal data can significantly impact the privacy and personal security of victims. The disclosed information, including names, addresses, and contact information, might be exploited for nefarious reasons, such as targeted phishing or physical harassment. Victims may have increased anxiety about their safety and privacy, which can interrupt their everyday life and create mental pain.
3) Reputational Damage and Trust Issues: The cyber attack may cause reputational harm to persons linked with Scandinavian Airlines, such as workers or partners. The breach may diminish consumers’ and stakeholders’ faith in the organisation, leading to a bad view of its capacity to protect personal information. This lack of trust might have long-term consequences for the impacted people’s professional and personal relationships.
4) Emotional Stress and Psychological Impact: The psychological impact of a cyber assault can be severe. Fear, worry, and a sense of violation induced by having personal information exposed can create emotional stress and psychological suffering. Victims may experience emotions of vulnerability, loss of control, and distrust toward digital platforms, potentially harming their overall quality of life.
5) Time and Effort Required for Remediation: Addressing the repercussions of a cyber assault demands significant time and effort from the victims. They may need to call financial institutions, reset passwords, monitor accounts for unusual activity, and use credit monitoring services. Resolving the consequences of a data breach may be a difficult and time-consuming process, adding stress and inconvenience to the victims’ lives.
6) Secondary Impacts: The impacts of an online attack could continue beyond the immediate implications. Future repercussions for victims may include trouble acquiring credit or insurance, difficulties finding future work, and continuous worry about exploiting their personal information. These secondary effects can seriously affect victims’ financial and general well-being.
Apart from this, the trust lost would take time to rebuild.
Takeaways from this attack: The cyber-attack on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is a sharp reminder of cybercrime’s ever-present and increasing menace. This event provides crucial insights that businesses and people may use to strengthen cybersecurity defences. In the lessons that were learned from the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault and examine the steps that may be taken to improve cybersecurity and reduce future risks. Some of the key points that can be considered are as follows:
- Proactive Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Management: The cyber assault on Scandinavian Airlines emphasises the significance of regular risk assessments and vulnerability management. Organisations must proactively identify and fix possible system and network vulnerabilities. Regular security audits, penetration testing, and vulnerability assessments can help identify flaws before bad actors exploit them.
- Strong security measures and best practices: To guard against cyber attacks, it is necessary to implement effective security measures and follow cybersecurity best practices. Lessons from the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault emphasise the importance of effective firewalls, up-to-date antivirus software, secure setups, frequent software patching, and strong password rules. Using multi-factor authentication and encryption technologies for sensitive data can also considerably improve security.
- Employee Training and Awareness: Human mistake is frequently a big component in cyber assaults. Organisations should prioritise employee training and awareness programs to educate employees about phishing schemes, social engineering methods, and safe internet practices. Employees may become the first line of defence against possible attacks by cultivating a culture of cybersecurity awareness.
- Data Protection and Privacy Measures: Protecting consumer data should be a key priority for businesses. Lessons from the Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault emphasise the significance of having effective data protection measures, such as encryption and access limits. Adhering to data privacy standards and maintaining safe data storage and transfer can reduce the risks connected with data breaches.
- Collaboration and Information Sharing: The Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault emphasises the need for collaboration and information sharing among the cybersecurity community. Organisations should actively share threat intelligence, cooperate with industry partners, and stay current on developing cyber threats. Sharing information and experiences can help to build the collective defence against cybercrime.
Conclusion: The Scandinavian Airlines cyber assault is a reminder that cybersecurity must be a key concern for organisations and people. Organisations may improve their cybersecurity safeguards, proactively discover vulnerabilities, and respond effectively to prospective attacks by learning from this occurrence and adopting the lessons learned. Building a strong cybersecurity culture, frequently upgrading security practices, and encouraging cooperation within the cybersecurity community are all critical steps toward a more robust digital world. We may aim to keep one step ahead of thieves and preserve our important information assets by constantly monitoring and taking proactive actions.
Author : Ms. Tanushree Saxena, Trainer, CyberPeace