Serious question: is Russia behind the IT crash at British Airways that has caused an operational meltdown tonight?
For the second time in less than a week, an IT crash at British Airways has brought operations to a stand-still. Critical systems stopped functioning and thousands of travelers face delays as BA attempts to switch on back-up systems.
At London Heathrow, passengers are even reporting that display screens are down:
#BritishAirways seems to be suffering a catastrophic systems failure atm. Website down. App down. Airport screens down. Sitting at the gate at T5 waiting to board but nobody seems to know what is happening. @British_Airways
— McG (@mikeygwill) February 25, 2022
The latest meltdown comes on the same day that Russia retaliated against the United Kingdom for its ban on Aeroflot flights by banning British Airways from serving or overflying Russia (all British airlines are impacted).
While British Airways denies that a cyberattack is behind the latest meltdown, the timing and incidence of this meltdown leads us to reasonably question if Russia could be behind this. In our new generation of war, battles are fought not just on the ground, air, and sea, but in cyberspace. As Russians inflict cyberattacks on Ukraine (and Ukraine responds by inflicting cyberattacks on Russia), is it really so far-fetched to wonder if Russia might be behind these sudden meltdowns, even if the evidence initially suggests that is not the case?
At this point, however, British Airways is only blaming the problem on a “technical issue.”
We’re investigating and working hard to resolve a technical issue and apologise for the inconvenience. We will provide further updates as quickly as possible. Julie
— British Airways (@British_Airways) February 25, 2022
And it could simply be a non-pernicious technical issue…after all, the British Airways data breach in 2018 was an unforced error according to investigators, who fined British Airways for not taking adequate security measures, like two-factor authentication, to prevent hackers from breaking in and harvesting personal information.
British Airways is currently suffering an operational meltdown, just hours after British carriers were banned from serving Russia and a day after the UK banned Russian operators from serving Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
While there is no conclusive evidence to suggest Russia is behind the operational meltdown, it is not unreasonable to wonder if there is a link, especially as Ukraine also finds itself burdened with a barrage of cyberattacks.