Canadian Newswire
Friday, January 22, 1999

AirMiles Collector database secure

Limited Website Sub-Files Downloaded Illegally


TORONTO, -- The Loyalty Group, which operates Canada's popular AIR MILES Reward Program, yesterday closed the AIR MILES(R) website in order to investigate allegations that limited Collector information on a sub-directory within the website had been illegally downloaded by a software developer with professional expertise.

"We are concerned about this situation, particularly in view of our commitment to protecting the privacy of Collector information", said Craig Underwood, President and CEO of The Loyalty Group. "We want to reassure our Collectors, Sponsors, and others that our main Collector database is housed on a separate system, is not accessible through the Internet and is completely secure. In fact, eight layers of security protection, including extensive data encryption technology, are in place to protect this database. Additionally, absolutely no information regarding Collector purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors is available through or on our website.

"It was wrong for the individual to download this information and to transmit it to the media. Nonetheless, we should have protected this sub-file on our website with the same level of absolute security that we use to protect all of our Collector information. We apologize for this situation and want all our Collectors who use the website to know this will not happen again", said Mr. Underwood.

From the moment the company was advised yesterday, the appropriate steps were taken, including shutting down the website and assigning a full team of IT experts to investigate. The website will not be reopened until the company is completely satisfied that the appropriate systems and security are in place and have been thoroughly tested. The Loyalty Group will take every possible action to rectify the situation.

"Collectors who have not used the website have no reason to be concerned. We are confident that no Collectors have been or will be negatively affected by this incident. We have also been assured by the software developer involved that the information he illegally downloaded was not retained or used", concluded Underwood.

For further information: John Wright, The Loyalty Group, (416) 228-6454

Copyright © 1999 by The Loyalty Group. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.