Association News

Law & Order: Hackers Compromise ABTA

Hackers Compromise ABTA


The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is the UK’s largest travel association, representing travel agents and tour operators that sell £32 billion of holidays and other travel arrangements each year. Having been in existence for more than 65 years they offer authoritative advice and guidance to the travelling public, and lead the travel industry in attaining high service standards; working with their members on health and safety, and promoting responsible tourism at home and abroad.


Now, however, it is feared that an attack on their website could have affected about 43,000 people, including 1,000 holidaymakers. In a statement ( posted recently ABTA  said hackers broke into web servers hosting the organisation’s website on 27 February and stole data related to customers of its members, which include tour operators, and information pertaining to the members themselves.


It is believed that the vast majority of the 43,000 are people who have registered on – with email addresses and encrypted passwords – which are types of data at “a very low exposure risk to identity theft or online fraud”.


ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, gave a personal apology for the anxiety that the incident would cause to customers and members saying, “It is extremely disappointing that our web server, managed for ABTA through a third party web developer and hosting company, was compromised, and we are taking every step we can to help those affected.”


At the time of writing the association wasn’t aware of hackers passing the stolen data on but was warning both customers of ABTA members and ABTA members with the potential to be affected as a precautionary measure, and have alerted the data watchdog, the information commissioner, and the police.