What was texted to the passenger?
A female passenger aboard an Etihad Airways flight had received a text message from an employee, telling her that he had seen her on the flight list from Abu Dhabi.
The employee then proceeded to tell her, that he had used the system’s logs to find her phone number in the reservation she made and proceeded to text her.
She also got a message stating that if she did not want him to text her, she should block him. And a kind reply that her flight was boarding.
The woman texted back in between these messages with questions like “who are you” and “how did you get this number”, which revealed that the phone number was in fact real.
How did the employee get the phone number?
The employee had access to the boarding logs of the plane at the airport.
When you book your flight, you often have to fill in your phone number to be kept up-to-date on flight information and to get your boarding pass sent to you, for example.
These logs are often protected from outsiders, but insiders with bad intentions still can have access to any of this information and use it at will (illegally, of course).
The fact the employee saw the face on a passport, matched the passport number to a booking reservation and got the phone number this way, is one way of seeing how things are connected and available these days.
How can you protect yourself from unwanted text messages?
Often, people state that they “never leave behind any personal info” and are therefore invulnerable to attacks or personal identity thefts like this story.
However, often you are not even aware of the fact that your information is floating around.
Like in this example, a lot of personal information, like your phone number, needs to be filled in on all kinds of forms, on paper or digitally.
One way to protect yourself from getting these kinds of unwanted text messages, is by using a fake or throwaway phone number, that you do not connect to anything else but bookings et cetera.
Another way to avoid getting text messages, is using online messaging tools to text people. This way your messages are not connected to any phone number or other personal identity.
Staying anonymous on the web is the best way to go about and by sending texts online, you have an easy way to circumvent a lot of “information traps”.
Of course, sometimes there is simply no way around it. But the trick is to stay as careful as possible.