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Tony Abbott's personal data hacked after posting boarding pass on Instagram

Personal data belonging to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was obtained by a hacker after he posted a boarding pass on Instagram.

Tony Abbott speaking at a press conference. Source: Breakfast

Alex Hope said that by using a reference number on the boarding pass, he was able to log onto Abbott's online booking page with the airline and retrieve data including his passport number and phone number, The Guardian revealed.

Hope said he then spent several months trying to speak to Qantas, Abbott and the Australian government about what he was able to do. 

He said when he finally managed to contact Abbott, he said he was interesting in improving his IT skills and learning about the information tickets contained.

“It’s, I suppose, a terrible confession of how people my age feel about this stuff,” Abbott was quoted as saying.

“You could drop me in the bush and I’d feel perfectly confident navigating my way out, looking at the sun and direction of rivers and figuring out where to go, but this.”

Hope said he was impressed by Abbott's response.

“That’s exactly the right way to respond when someone tells you about a security problem,” he wrote.

“Back at the beginning, I was kinda worried that he might misunderstand, and think I was trying to hack him or something, and that I’d be instantly slam dunked into jail. But nope, he was fine with it.

“The point of this story isn’t to say ‘wow Tony Abbott got hacked, what a dummy’. The point is that if someone famous can unknowingly post their boarding pass, anyone can.”

Qantas said it appreciated the issue being brought to its attention "in such a responsible way".

It advised against posting images of boarding passes online.