Airline tickets could make you a target for hackers
Heading into the holidays, you might be catching a flight, but you should be careful with your boarding pass. The barcodes on them can sometimes contain more of your personal information than you realize. Experts say they can not only contain your flight details but a treasure trove of your personal information, leaving you vulnerable to hackers.
Using a personal boarding pass and a barcode reader downloaded to his cellphone, Andrew Von Ramin Mapp with Data Analyzers pulls up his information. He says what's most troubling is that he pulled up his frequent flyer account number in seconds. Von Ramin Mapp says that number can unlock the door for someone to drain your frequent flyer miles from your account, alter your travel plans, and worse.
"If a credit card is tied to that they may also be able to access the relevant information for that," Von Ramin Mapp explained.
How much of your information is in the barcode varies from airline to airline. Von Ramin Mapp stopped a few people at the airport and asked to see their boarding passes, which he scanned with an iPhone. He saw not only their names, but flight confirmation numbers and sometimes frequent flier account numbers.
It's why posting pictures of your boarding pass online is not a good idea. We watched Von Ramin Mapp take a picture of his boarding pass and then print that picture. Even from the copy, he can still get the information from the barcode. Someone can do the same thing with that photo you post on social media.
"Keeping those barcodes secured and your boarding pass secured is definitely something that people should be consciously aware and keep in mind," Von Ramin Mapp said.
Experts say a more secure approach is to have the boarding pass sent to your phone and delete it when you're done.