After you hand the gate agent your boarding pass to scan and head back onto the plane, there’s a pretty good chance you quit paying attention to that stub in your hand.
Online security expert Brian Krebs wrote in a blog post Tuesday that personal information available on a boarding pass that most people wouldn’t suspect could be used by others can, in fact, reveal a lot. And you don’t need any fancy equipment to read them.
This information may not sound that exciting.
The data, in addition to the flyer’s first and last name, also includes the traveler’s origin and destination airports and frequent flyer number – and all it takes for an enterprising thief to access it is a quick visit to a free online barcode reader. “Not only could I see this one flight, but I could see ANY future flights that were booked to his frequent flier number from the Star Alliance”, this person told Krebs.
Once someone has access into an account they will be able do anything from cancelling a future flight to changing personal information related to the account.
Your full name, arrival and departure airports, the airline you’re flying, flight record finder and even your frequent flyer number are public domain if you go for the cheeky passport wallet pic. “What’s happening is you’re putting it out there because of you scanning or taking a picture on Instagram of your boarding pass, or you’re leaving it behind”, said Travalliance CEO Mark Murphy.
The best way to keep your information from getting in the wrong hands is to use airline apps and download your pass to your phone.