Don’t just trash your boarding pass, your privacy depends on it

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The holidays are right around the corner, but before you travel, a lot of personal information must first be provided to your chosen airline. Because of this, your information is vulnerable to being accessed by criminals.

This is why security blogger Brian Krebs wrote a piece on what could happen if you are not protective of your traveling documents. He chronicled how he heard from a KrebsOnSecurity reader named Cory who saw that his friend had posted a picture of his boarding pass on Facebook. Cory did some digging and discovered startling information simply by using a website to decode the pass’s barcode.

Some of the most important information revealed from the barcode was the boarding pass owner’s name, frequent flyer number, and flight record key (the pass owner was flying with Lufthansa). With these, Cory was able to gain access to his friend’s Lufthansa account through the European airline’s website. He was then able to see his friend’s current flight, future flights, phone number, and the name of the person who booked the flight.

Using this personal data, Cory also had the power to change the unsuspecting flyer’s seats and even cancel flights.

Here’s how you can prevent this breach of personal data from happening to you:

Don’t post your flight information on the Internet.

As described above, all it takes is a few clicks for anyone to decode your boarding pass barcode and access data that could totally ruin your day. By posting this document online, you are making yourself vulnerable to friends, family, and strangers from all over the world to further invade your privacy. One of the easiest ways to prevent this kind of trouble is to keep personal matters such as your boarding pass off the Web.

Shred your boarding pass after your flight.

If you think tossing your pass in the trash will prevent devious people from collecting your data, think again. The best way to ensure that no one will be able to crack the code on your travel document, run it through the shredder as soon as you’re finished using it.

Remember to be mindful of your personal documentation while traveling, as stealing one’s information these days isn’t tough. Don’t allow yourself to be an easy target.

Happy travels!

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