January 02, 2017

"The travel booking systems used by millions of people every day are woefully insecure and lack modern authentication methods."

Computerworld: This allows attackers to easily modify other people's reservations, cancel their flights and even use the refunds to book tickets for themselves, according a team of researchers who analyzed this online ecosystem. by Lucian Constantin

'Karsten Nohl and Nemanja Nikodijevic from Berlin-based consultancy Security Research Labs have spent months investigating the security employed by the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) that are used by travel agencies, airlines, hotels and car rental companies. They presented their findings Tuesday at the 33rd Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg.

'GDSs are databases that date back to the mainframe era and hold all information about travel bookings such as the traveler's name, travel dates, itinerary, ticket details, phone and email contacts, passport information, credit card numbers, seat numbers and baggage information. All of this data make up the so-called Passenger Name Records (PNRs).

'The three major GDS operators in the world are Sabre, Travelport and Amadeus and together they store PNRs for hundreds of millions of travelers at any given time. Any data added or modification made to a booking is stored in their systems and all that's required to access that information is typically a last name and a six-character booking code.'

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