Keys and airline tickets: be careful what you post on social media

On social media you should always pay close attention to what you post, from a simple airline ticket hackers can trace all our data

Now every time you are about to take a trip, for work or leisure, the rituals are almost always the same. Arrival at the airport, queue at the controls and then photos to post on social networks while waiting for the gate to open. On the surface, there's nothing wrong with that. Posting tickets and documents online, however, can be a big risk.

In addition to our friends, many cyber criminals are also hiding on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook . In the first months of 2017 alone, there are hundreds of cases of identity theft on social media. In most cases, hackers take advantage of a simple photo to steal a person's personal information.The six-digit reservation code, known by airlines as PNR (Passenger Name Record), for example, is a gold mine for the malicious. Anyone who knows your PNR code and reservation s last name can in fact access the online check-in page of the airline you're flying with. In this way they can steal all our data or trace our bank account.

How hackers act

How do hackers act? Simple, if we have a public profile on Instagram, for example, cyber criminals will simply search for particular hashtags such as travel, vacation, airport and so on. Among the various photos they will select those where there are documents or tickets (even if not in the foreground). By analyzing the images with programs, they will trace them back to our PNR code (in whole or in part) or to our name and surname. On some airlines, all you need to do to access your travel profile is to enter your first and last name and the time of your flight.

How can we defend ourselves

The fear of a cyber attack cannot, however, prevent us from taking nice photos at the airport or fighting the boredom of waiting at the gate on social networks. To avoid losing our identity to an attacker, however, we must pay attention to details. We avoid as much as possible to include tickets, passports or identity cards in the shot. If by mistake we realize we have entered a ticket or ID we can cover our data with a black bar or by blurring the user information. Almost all smartphones have these editing features for photos.


Even car keys are a danger if posted online. People when they buy a new car they want to share the moment with friends on social media. However, we avoid posting a picture of the car key as well. Starting from a photo, cyber criminals can clone them. There are even 3D design programs that can make a copy of a key from a simple snapshot.