Privacy chief wary of Cathay phishing emails, receives 24 complaints on data theft

Local | 29 Oct 2018 12:27 pm

The Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong said today that he has received an email from Cathay Pacific Airways but he has not opened it out of fear about phishing, RTHK reports.

Phishing refers to an attempt by fraudsters to obtain sensitive information by disguising an email or message as being from a legitimate institution.

Speaking on a radio program about the data leak that has hit 9.4 millions Cathay Pacific customers, Wong said that sometimes if one is not careful one could end up giving out even more personal information because the source of the email may not be official.

He went on to say that he usually opens emails only after the people who sent them call him up and tell him they have written to him.

The privacy chief said that this is something that people should pay attention to in terms of protecting personal data. He said this is especially the case when you're using free wifi services.

He said apart from an email from Cathay Pacific, he also got an email from what may be one of the 9.4 million victims affected by the airline's data breach. He has not opened that either.

Wong said his office has received 24 complaints about the data breach so far, seven of which concern compensation issues. Some others complained about the delay in being informed about the leak.

The data breach was confirmed in May this year and it was only last week that Cathay made it public.

Wong said that from past experience, it's almost impossible to seek compensation in such cases. But he said this data breach incident is different as people can also try to seek compensation for emotional damage.

Wong said such claims have to be proven with evidence that actual damage has been caused. "If they are aggrieved, they must prove they are aggrieved in fact and also account for the damage and also list out possible items relating to the application for compensation," he said.

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