Lonely Planet Writer

Chinese teen makes over one million yuan from hacking airline

A teenage hacker in China is believed to have broken into an airline’s website this summer, and made more than one million yuan, or $150,000 USD, by convincing customers there was an issue with their flights and they had to pay extra fees.

A teen in China has been arrested after allegedly hacking into an airline's website.
A teen in China has been arrested after allegedly hacking into an airline’s website. Image by hackNY.org

The 19-year-old reportedly found personal information on the buyers of more than 1.6 million tickets, according to the South China Morning Post, which cites Chinese media reports. The teenager sent text messages to the ticket holders saying their flights had been cancelled and they would have to pay an additional fee to rebook their flights with the airline.

The teen made more than one million yuan, or $150,000 USD, while the airline lost more than 80,000 yuan ($12,000 USD) due to customers demanding a refund on the cancelled flights. The incident occurred earlier this year, from 31 July to 20 August, and the suspect was arrested in November. A police officer is quoted as saying the attack was not highly sophisticated and was due to a loophole in the company’s computer system, reports the Post. The airline was not identified.

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