(ECNS) -- Selling the personal information and flight schedules of celebrities has become a lucrative but illegal business, as vendors take advantage of loopholes created by flight apps, Beijing News reported.
Major channels through which flight information is being leaked include the official apps and websites of airlines as well as third-party flight apps, the paper said.
"With a celebrity's name and identity card number, we can track all their flight schedules," an online vendor told the paper.
The flight information of celebrities can be sold for 15 to 40 yuan （about 2.2 to 5.8 U.S. dollars）a piece, depending on where they are flying.
A reporter from the paper paid 80 yuan for two pieces of information on the flight schedules of Lu Han, a Chinese singer and actor, and 45 yuan for another two pieces of flight information for Jay Chou, a Taiwanese musician, actor and director.
The identity numbers and passport numbers of celebrities are also being sold for 80 to 500 yuan.
The paper also discovered that flight app users can access detailed personal data and flight information of strangers, and then revise that information or even cancel flights.
Lin Lin (pseudonym) said the Beijing-London flight she had booked in February was accidentally canceled by a stranger on April 19.
Upon logging on to the app, she found the details of three or four strangers added to her list, including their names, ID numbers, bank accounts and card numbers, as well as scores of unknown flight schedules.
"I didn't know anything about it," said Zhou Hong, who had been included in Lin's list and canceled Lin's flight. When Zhou found Lin's flight information on her app, she thought it was fraudulent and canceled it.
"Information leaks caused by third-party apps and official airline websites are just the tip of the iceberg in the aviation industry," said a senior aviation manager. "There are just too many sectors that could potentially leak passenger information, and you don't know exactly what's wrong."
The leaks could involve at least tens of millions of passengers, according to the paper.