Flight tips for idiots

Overshare. No, I’m not (just) talking about the locker room conversations about the after-effects of your recent curry, I’m talking about the stuff people choose to post on their social media accounts.

People have amazing lives, don’t they? The happy happy joy joy stuff that gets shared on Facebook tells us so, be it yet another amazing dinner at that amazing restaurant, the amazing results of your amazing child at their amazing school, or the amazing trip to that amazing place that you’re about to take on that amazing plane. We’re all guilty of it to a greater or lesser extent.
But overshare can be dangerous – be it sharing pictures of your children (I think that this one is a bit dramatic, but that’s more down to the extrapolation by the author; the points within are valid) – or, as Brian Krebs told us recently – putting a photo of your boarding pass onto the internet. Because then people can find out loads about you, just by using the barcode and an online barcode reader like this one.

Besides his name, frequent flyer number and other [personally identifiable information], I was able to get his record locator (a.k.a. “record key” for the Lufthansa flight he was taking that day).
I then proceeded to Lufthansa’s website and using his last name (which was encoded in the barcode) and the record locator was able to get access to his entire account. Not only could I see this one flight, but I could see ANY future flights that were booked to his frequent flyer number from the Star Alliance.

The Star Alliance, by the way, is a group of 27 member airlines, offering mutually beneficial deals to passengers using their services. It has nothing to do with Darth Vadar. Yes, I was also disappointed.

No-one is going to be able to kidnap your children if you share your boarding pass, but with full access to your travel plans, they could easily change details of your flights, steal frequent flyer miles or work out when you are out of town. And together with that photo you shared of your amazing new 72″ TV, that last one could be valuable information.

The thing is, it’s rather unlikely that anyone would ever use this information against you. But without victim blaming, if they did, you should be fully aware that you could have stopped it happening by just not showing off about your amazing trip to New York.

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