SpiceJet Suffers Ransomware Attack

Nisarg Vyas (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2 ), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – On May 25, one of India’s largest LCCs (low-cost carriers), SpiceJet, suffered a major ransomware attack on their important operational IT systems.

The Ransomware Headache…

Suffering a major blow to their operations on May 25, SpiceJet was heavy-hit by a ransomware attack that targeted some of their major IT systems, unfortunately, to the dismay of many travelers, this had subsequently resulted in a large impact on their operations for the day with many flights being grounded during the incident.

SpiceJet initially reported on Twitter that the attack that had occurred during the night had impacted several flights, particularly at airports where there are restrictions on night operations.

One of the airline’s spokespersons has said, “While our IT team has to a large extent contained and rectified the situation, this has had a cascading effect on our flights leading to delays. SpiceJet is in touch with experts and cybercrime authorities on the issue.”

Despite the airline trying to calm the situation, many passengers took to responding to their Twitter announcement, mentioning delays of three to four hours, plus flight cancellations.

Here are some of the passenger’s reactions to the latest delays –

  • One passenger had said that they had been stuck on the aircraft for three hours and 45 minutes with no flight canceled or any breakfast during the wait.
  • Another said that their flight was supposed to depart Bagdogra International Airport (IXB) at 09:00 am, but with no updates and a wife with a fractured leg waiting in vain.
  • A third passenger said that their flight, SG1008 from Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD) to Jabalpur Airport (JLR) had been delayed by three hours, with children and elderly passengers stranded without water or refreshments.

As of now, SpiceJet’s operations seemed to have returned to normal and no further statement from the airline has yet been released as to who or what had caused the ransomware attack.

Recent SpiceJet Woes…

Not only has the ransomware incident that SpiceJet suffered today had a major blow to their operations, but in the last month alone, the carrier has had to handle multiple incidents, which has resulted in decreased confidence from customers in the carrier.

Three weeks ago, the airline had an issue where one of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft had suffered an engine failure

In the same week as the above engine failure incident, SpiceJet also had another incident where 17 passengers were injured during a flight from Mumbai to the eastern city of Durgapur.

One passenger on this flight mentioned that for 17 minutes, people, luggage, and food waste were flying around the cabin, which caused significant injury to some passengers with even one passenger saying, “I saw bloodstains on the ceiling”.

A little less recent than the above incidents, back in 2020, TechCrunch had reported that a security researcher had managed to hack into SpiceJet’s major data IT systems and had gained access to 1.2 million passengers’ information, including information of several government officials.

All of these risks are posing a major threat to the airline, including passenger confidential information integrity, which could result in damaging their reputation and customer confidence in the company from passengers that their important personal data is 100% safe and secure.

We expect that SpiceJet will work on majorly improving the security of their IT systems to prevent any future attacks, although in the digital age we are currently in, this may be a very difficult challenge for them to overcome.

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