Hackers creating fake boarding passes

Discussion in 'Blogstand' started by sobore, May 24, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.kold.com/story/14702242/special-report


    Security hackers have discovered a potentially dangerous loophole in airline security.
    You cannot board a plane without a boarding pass, but computer hackers have found a way around that.
    Instead of the standard boarding passes, majority of all passengers are now coming to the airport armed with boarding passes they printed out on a computer at home.
    It is an important document that gets them through TSA check-points, and on board a plane. Using a simple Photoshop program, security hackers have figured out a way to mess with the document, and fool security.
    By downloading the airline boarding pass into a .PDF file, they import into the Photoshop program, the hacker is able to change the name on the boarding pass to their own.
    Then, all they need is an ID and the fake boarding pass, and they're airborne.
    The paper boarding passes do have a bar code on them that is scanned at the second check-point by an airline agent, right before you board the plane. But, they do not check your ID and match it with the name that comes up on their computer.
    At the first check point, a TSA agent does check your ID and your boarding pass to match the names, but they do not scan the bar code, so there's no way for them to tell if the boarding pass was actually issued in your name.
    It is a problem TSA officials say they have been aware of for at least the last four years.
     
  2. Bob Smolinsky
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    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

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    Really? All airports in Europe are checking names v bp's at the gate when boarding....and also if that bar code is not matched up against that flight, that seat and class, it will also register an error.
     
  3. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    :eek: This is serious stuff.
     
  4. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    As far as I can tell, the technology to address it is simple and affordable. This problem has been quite evident for more than four years.

    From the "news" report:
    Does anyone else see the irony in this?
     
  5. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Yeah this has been pointed out for a long time... the last time someone checked my ID at the gate was probably 5+ years ago. I was surprised when they stopped doing that, because you could quite easily take someone else's boarding pass and just travel as them after you're through the security checkpoint.
     
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  6. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    Proof that TSA minions have known of the problem since at least 2006:
    Chris's NWA Boarding Pass Generator (TSA takedown order issued Nov 2006)

    Of course, the problem's been evident longer than that. Exactly how long it's been a problem is less concerning than the fact that there's been little progress to address it. I wouldn't place all the blame on the TSA, though, either. The airlines have long known that this is a problem and that they need to address it sufficiently on their side. Which airlines have done so?
     
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  7. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Indeed, I think the blame is more on the airlines since they don't check ID when you board.

    Even if not for security, some unscrupulous flyer might check availability and change their seat class. :)
     

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