Aussie ‘hacker’ obtains Tony Abbott’s phone and passport numbers in minutes after the former PM posted a seemingly innocent picture online – and he says he could do it to you too
- A young Australian hacker has obtained the personal details of Tony Abbott
- The former Prime Minister posted his Qantas boarding pass to his Instagram
- Alex Hope was then able to use the information in the photo to hack Mr Abbott
- The hacker said he did it as a dare and alerted Qantas and Mr Abbott shorty after
- Mr Abbott later called Alex and appeared to be fascinated with the cyber prank
Alex Hope (pictured) easily uncovered the former Prime Minster’s personal details
A self-described hacker with a reputation for causing mischief has obtained the phone and passport numbers of Tony Abbott within minutes.
Alex Hope easily uncovered the personal details after the former prime minister posted a photo of his Qantas boarding pass to Instagram.
The entire process, which he documented online at his blog site Mango Zone, was completed in under an hour.
‘The whole thing took maybe 45 minutes? Half an hour if you leave out me trying to scan the barcode for 15 minutes, failing to notice the booking reference was just printed on the boarding pass,’ Alex told SBS program The Feed.
‘When I first saw the passport number, I thought “oh no. It’s just…there”,’ he added.
Alex took on the challenge when a friend posted Mr Abbott’s boarding pass picture to their chat group with the caption ‘can you hack this man?’.
By entering Mr Abbott’s flight details into the Qantas booking site, Alex was then able to read the page’s HTML code which unveiled the private information.
Alex Hope was able to hack Prime Minister Tony Abbott after he posted his Qantas flight details online
After successfully carrying out the dare, Alex then tried to alert Mr Abbott and Qantas about the breach so they could take steps to prevent others with more sinister intentions from doing the same thing.
Alex said anyone on Instagram who saw Mr Abbott’s post could have replicated the hack.
But it took about six months from March before Alex was finally contacted by an assistant of Mr Abbott.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott was hacked after posting boarding pass online
Not long after that, Mr Abbott called Alex himself.
Alex said Mr Abbott wanted to learn about ‘the IT’ and was fascinated by the cyber prank.
‘When I’d collected myself from various corners of the room, he asked if there was a book about the basics of IT since he wanted to learn about it. That was kind of humanising since it made me realise that even famous people are just people too,’ Alex said.
Mr Abbott now has a new passport number and is much more aware of dangers of posting boarding pass details online.
Qantas thanked Alex in a statement for bringing the issue to their attention and said it has now updated its cyber security protocols.
Alex said the point was not to embarrass or mock Mr Abbott but to show that anyone, even someone as prominent as a former prime minister can be hacked if they are not more careful with their personal information.