Updated at 11.10am with Air Malta reply
Air Malta’s website on Tuesday fell victim to a hack that saw the airline’s contact page directing customers to what appeared to be a dating site.
Clients who attempted to use the Air Malta contact form, which comes up when a user clicks on the website’s Contact Us tab, told Times of Malta how the form was already filled in when they opened the page, despite not having inputted any personal data.
Upon closer inspection of the text inputted into the form, the airline’s clients said that the name and e-mail address were evidently “made up”, as were the contact number and the Flypass Number. In the message box at the end of the form, apart from a message reading “new super hot photo galleries, daily updated collections”, there was also a link to a dating website.
The same message was still coming up at around 8.30am, when the newspaper accessed the airline’s website. The issue seemed to have been fixed some time later.
Contacted about the issue, a spokesman for Air Malta said the airline had been in touch with the website designer on the matter and that he would reply to questions sent via e-mail to better explain what led to the issue.
There was also a link to what appeared to be a dating website
Times of Malta asked the airline whether it was aware of the glitch and whether any of its clients’ personal data had been compromised and if so, whether the authorities had been informed of the issue.
The airline did not reply at the time of going to print.
Airline blames automated bot
On Wednesday morning, it told Times of Malta that the issue had only affected the contact form and was caused by an automated bot “which was carrying out attempts to propagate malicious links via email”.
“Air Malta’s website was not breached and no customer data was compromised,” a company representative said. “The matter was immediately resolved.”
Bots are software applications designed to run simple, automated tasks repetitively at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone.
They are estimated to make up more than half of all traffic on the internet.
Their most common online use is by search engines, which use bots to scan, or ‘crawl’, websites to index online content. Bots can also be used maliciously and often feature in attacks on websites or email spamming activities.
Back to: Malta Blog