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Why You Should Keep A Tighter Grip On Airline Boarding Passes

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We leave them in coat pockets. We use them as bookmarks. We stuff them in between the flight safety card and the motion sickness bag. But you might want to keep a tighter grip on your airline boarding passes.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

That's the advice of Brian Krebs who runs the website krebsonsecurity.com. He says along with your name and flight number, there's a barcode that could hold more sensitive information.

BRIAN KREBS: You could sort of look at this thing, and it's just a blob of black and white information. You don't know what it says, but in fact, it's really easy to figure out what it says.

SIEGEL: Someone in the know can scan it and access frequent flyer numbers and the code to your flight reservations.

KREBS: You may be actually able to not only view their current and future flights but, in some cases, even cancel those trips.

SIEGEL: Sometimes that information is printed right on the pass.

MCEVERS: Krebs says while security screening at the airport has increased, online reservation security hasn't.

KREBS: Many airlines have fallen way behind in beefing up the security of their websites and how they authenticate their customers online.

MCEVERS: So after you unpack, take that boarding pass, and...

KREBS: Put it in the shredder or the fireplace.

SIEGEL: Or, Krebs says, just download the boarding pass on your phone. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.