A Chinese group has claimed responsibility for changing content on the site and posting confidential data.
The website of Vietnam Airlines was breached at 4 p.m. today by hackers who posted an announcement saying that the site had been hacked and the content had been changed.
An insulting recording about Vietnam and the Philippines was posted, along with a message regarding China’s claims to the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea. Hacking group 1937cn claimed responsibility for the attack.
At the bottom of the site there was a link to pastebin.com which contained options to download an Excel file. The file was 100MB and contained confidential data including names, dates of birth and addresses of 400,000 members of Vietnam Airlines’ frequent fliers club, Golden Lotus. Some of the details also included position, workplace and phone number. VnExpress has run a random check on 10 accounts and confirmed that they are real.
The screens at Noi Bai Airport were off this afternoon, and passengers were delayed at check-in counters. Photo by H.S.
At the same time, at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports, many passengers panicked when flight information changed on screens and false information was seen at most check-in counters. The loudspeakers were also taken over.
Authorities realized that a strange message had been airing for about four minutes, and turned off the entire loudspeaker system.
At 5:30 p.m, the user interface on the Vietnam Airlines site returned to normal, but changes on the company’s subdomain at http://glp.vietnamairlines.com/ still displayed changes until some time later.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat said that the hackers had only gained access to the interface of the screens showing Vietnam Airlines’ flight information at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat, not the search or booking system. Flight control and security had not been affected.
The Ministry of Transport has asked the Ministry of Public Security to investigate.
As of May 2015, over 200 Vietnam’s websites had been attacked by groups from China, mostly 1937cn. According to security experts, website 1937cn.net was established to provoke and attack Vietnamese websites.