Stolen credentials used to access United Airlines' MileagePlus accounts

The login credentials came from an unidentified third party

Login credentials from a third party were used to fraudulently access about three dozen MileagePlus accounts, which is United Airlines' loyalty rewards program.

Login credentials from a third party were used to fraudulently access about three dozen MileagePlus accounts, which is United Airlines' loyalty rewards program.

Three dozen loyalty accounts belonging to United Airlines customers saw fraudulent transactions after hackers used login credentials collected from an unknown source.

The Mileage Plus accounts, which are part of United's rewards program, were accessed early last month, said Luke Punzenberger, a United spokesman, on Sunday. The program has about 95 million participants.

Punzenberger said the accounts were accessed using login credentials that came from a third party. He did not have specific information on how the airline determined that.

The login credentials were not obtained as a result of a data breach at United, Punzenberger said. He added that United was not the only company that saw attempts to access accounts using the login credentials.

The accounts were temporarily suspended pending verification by affected customers. United said in an advisory that Mileage Plus numbers, account balances and Premier status were exposed and possibly mailing addresses.

The last four digits of a credit card number may have been exposed if a customer had a card number included in their Mileage Plus profile, United said. The rest of the digits are masked.

Loyalty card programs for the travel industry have been increasingly targeted by hackers, as compromised accounts are easy to cash out. United's MileagePlus program lets customers use accumulated miles for air travel, rental cars, dining and shopping.

The incident was reported last week to California's Office of the Attorney General. California law requires organizations to notify residents if unencrypted personal information may have been acquired by an unauthorized person.

Hackers often try to see if login credentials stolen from one Web service will work on another one. For this reason, security experts recommend that people do not re-use passwords, although that mistake is often made.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags United Airlinessecurity

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?