The hackers that beat the US government may have just broken into one of the world's biggest airlines


United airlines plane

Flickr/Axel J.

Reports suggest United Airlines has been hacked.

The Chinese team believed to be responsible for a high-profile cyber strike on the US government has hacked United Airlines, according to reports.


Bloomberg reported the breach on Wednesday, citing a number of sources familiar with the situation. Business Insider has reached out to United Airlines for comment and confirmation.

The breach reportedly occurred " in May or early June," and compromised a variety of the Airline's IT systems and, according to Bloomberg, means the hackers have "data on the movements of millions of Americans."

The compromised information listed in the report also includes passengers' personal information.

Bloomberg's sources report the hackers may have also stolen United's forward-looking mergers and acquisitions strategy.


The attack has reportedly been linked to prior strikes on the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and health insurer Anthem.

The White House revealed the attack in June when it admitted hackers had breached the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), compromising the details of roughly 4 million staff.

The attack was initially believed to be the work of state-sponsored Chinese hackers. However, US President Barack Obama's administration said it will not officially blame China for the OPM hack, or take action against it.

The Anthem attack happened in February and saw hackers successfully steal information on 78.8 million current and former customers and employees.

Business Insider has contacted the OPM and Anthem for comment on the reported links between the three attacks. Business Insider has also contacted the Washington and London Chinese embassies for comment.


Dangerous intentions

The report follows warnings from the US government that China is collecting data on US business and government departments as part of a wider plan to develop infrastructure-killing cyber weapons.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) claimed China is developing attack tools that could knock a nation's infrastructure offline using data stolen during high-profile hacks in May.

The report follows efforts by United to improve its cyber security. United launched a bug bounty program in May in a bid to find holes in its security. Bug bounties pay hackers to responsibly and privately disclose bugs they find to the company.

United paid two hackers $1 million worth of air miles for finding bugs in its IT system on 16 July.

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