An insider data breach at the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) has exposed the sensitive financial data of some 3,000 US Airways pilots, according to reports.
The USAPA, a union representing more than 5,000 US Airways pilots, claims that the airline recently became aware of an incident in which a management-level pilot handed over a database of US Airway pilot names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and potentially even passport information to a third party group. The group, Leonidas, represents pilots from America West, which was acquired by US Airways in 2005.
According to the report by DarkReading, a spokesperson from US Airways declined any comment beyond confirming that roughly two-thirds of their pilots were affected.
Evidently a disgruntled, former Chief-Pilot at US Airways leaked the information to Leonidas in an Excel spreadsheet in late 2009. This incident appears to have stemmed from a long running labor-feud between America West’s pilots and their associates at US Airways.
“[Leonidas] has acted to disrupt the ongoing negotiations between USAPA and US Airways currently under the auspices of the National Mediation Board and undermine USAPA’s bargaining objectives,” said USAPA officials.
US Airways told the USAPA that they have been assured that none of the data leaked will be misused or abused by the third-party group. The USAPA however, called this statement ludicrous, comparing it to a bank robber robbing a bank but promising not to spend any of the money acquired in the theft.
“The union is also extremely disappointed by the Company’s lack of aggressive action to address this issue,” said the president of the USAPA, Mike Cleary, “first denying that a significant breach had even occurred, then equivocating concerning the extent of that breach, all the while taking no remedial action against the Company personnel involved in the breach. Significantly, the Company has also failed to take steps to provide lifelong protection to the pilots directly affected and adequately address the potential national security issues for all of our pilots and passengers.”
In a move that is quickly becoming the industry standard, US Airways is offering 12 months of free credit monitoring services to those affected.