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Unethical Hacker Not Allowed to Board Flight

Remember when you fly don’t say the “B” word and now don’t tweet that you can hack an airliner before you fly. It seems that the Airlines or others with an interest in Aviation Security are searching social media for potential hackers.

According to Multiple News Sources, United Airlines stopped a “prominent” security researcher from boarding a California-bound flight late Saturday, following a twitter post by the researcher days earlier suggesting the airline’s on-board systems could be hackedthe law.

Here’s what happened.

The researcher, Chris Roberts, attempted to board a United flight from Colorado to San Francisco to speak at a major security conference there this week, but was stopped by the airline’s corporate security at the gate. Roberts founded One World Labs, which tries to discover security risks before they are exploited. Apparently, he was a little bit too much of a braggart.

Roberts had been removed from an earlier United flight Wednesday by the FBI after landing in Syracuse, New York, and was questioned for four hours after “jokingly” suggesting on Twitter he could hack the airplane’s computer systems and get the oxygen masks on the plane to deploy. Authorities also seized Roberts’ laptop and other electronics, although his lawyer says he hasn’t seen a search warrant.

A lawyer for Roberts said United gave him no detailed explanation Saturday why he wasn’t allowed on the plane, saying instead the airline would be sending Roberts a letter within two weeks stating why they wouldn’t let him fly on their aircraft.

It is Topgallant’s opinion that this is not an invasion of privacy but something we all should be aware could happen. We also think that this researcher showed a terrible lapse in judgement.

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