Profile Image Changed To Ethereum Co-Founder Vitaly Dmitriyevich

India’s low-cost airline Go First faced a breach of its Twitter account on Wednesday morning. Social media users were quick to notice that the airline’s Twitter name, profile image, and bio had all been changed. The airline has acknowledged that its account has been compromised in what is the second of such incidents this year.


Account hacked

Go First’s team woke up to the disturbing news of its Twitter handle being compromised this morning. Users of the social media platform noted that the account’s profile picture displayed an image of Vitaly Dmitriyevich, a Canadian programmer and co-founder of Ethereum – a platform that deals with cryptocurrency.

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The account’s name was changed to “vitalik.eth” and its bio rewritten to say “Ethereum Fable of the Dragon Tyrant (not mine but it’s important).”

Photo: Twitter

Soon after the breach, the account started posting messages related to Ethereum, which have since then been taken down.

The airline confirmed that its account had been hacked and that concerned teams were investigating the matter to resolve it. At the time of writing, the account still displayed the changed image.

Hacked before

This is the second time this year that Go First’s Twitter account has been compromised. In January, the airline’s Twitter handle was tampered with in a similar manner in which the hackers sent out random messages and links.

Some of the messages read “Amazing” and “Great Job” and carried links to what appeared to be suspicious sites.

Go First jumped into action, took control of the situation, and assured passengers of its commitment to providing safe and secure information.

The airline’s Twitter account was also hacked earlier this year. Photo:
Akshay Mantri

Security breaches

The aviation industry is facing a rising wave of cyber attacks and breaches. Two Indian airlines this year – Air India and Akasa Air – had their online security compromised, potentially putting the data of millions of passengers at risk.

In Air India’s case, up to 4.5 million passengers had their data compromised, with sensitive information like passport details and credit card numbers leaked. The breach affected the “personal data of some passengers” traveling with the airline from August 2011 to February 2021.

Air India faced a cyber security breach earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images

Newly launched Akasa Air also faced a cyber attack last month. The carrier informed the passengers affected by the breach, reassuring them that no critical information, such as payment details or travel records, was accessed.

Similar incidents globally include that of Cathay Pacific, which in 2018, suffered a serious data breach affecting 9.4 million of its passengers, and in 2020, easyJet revealed that the carrier was affected by a very sophisticated cyber attack, in which hackers gained access to the email addresses and travel information of about 9 million customers.

While the Go First breach today was limited to its Twitter account, the growing instances of airlines coming under cyber attacks is a worrying trend.

What do you make of this incident? Please leave a comment below.


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