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Belgian man imprisoned after hacking airline website for cheaper tickets

American Airlines - Belgian hacker convicted
11:08 31/08/2022

A Belgian man has been sentenced by a court in Mechelen to three years in prison for various computer hacking incidents, reports Geeko and Le Soir.

‘Kevin D’, who had carried out cyber attacks since the age of 12, hacked into multiple American Airlines websites in 2017 in order to get cheaper plane tickets. 

In total, he made 21 fraudulent airline ticket reservations. His various hacks enabled him to buy 10 business class tickets without paying for them, to gain access to the airline's loyalty programme, to obtain staff and customer data and to access information on internal procedures at American Airlines and airports in the US served by the company.

The estimated damages incurred by the hacking amounted to over $200,000. 

In addition to American Airlines, Kevin D also committed similar acts against Mobistar, Utopolis, Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa. The sentence handed down last week by the Mechelen courts reflected that it wasn’t a first offence. 

The man was arrested in Milan in October 2021 and has remained in prison in Italy. Due to the offences against an American company, the US asked Belgium to extradite him so that he could face a penalty of 22 to 45 years in prison, a far longer sentence than the one he received in Belgium, where he carried out the acts.

Belgium opposes his extradition to the US. If the Belgian judgment rules on the cancellation of the extradition to the US and the American justice rejects the Belgian judgment, the defendant will no longer be able to leave the territory. Otherwise, he risks arrest and extradition to the US.

Photo: American Airlines

Written by Helen Lyons