Some extremely troubling news has come out of the United Airlines camp as of late. It turns out that one of the company’s employees posted security codes online, codes which can be used to access the cockpit of most fleet planes. This is a huge breach of security for the airline and could spell disaster if the codes fall into the wrong hands.
What Are the Security Codes Used for?
Flight personnel use the security access codes to request access to the cockpit. United made it clear in a public statement that the codes are not the only security measure employed by the airline and its employees.
Simply knowing the codes won’t get you access to a cockpit. Pilots and personnel already up front must first make a visual confirmation before allowing someone access. In addition, the pilots always have the final say, which means they can override a successful request even if the code entered is correct. In other words, a random stranger couldn’t plug in a code, open the door and obtain unfettered access.
It’s still a security concern that hopefully will not be repeated in the future. It has been reported that the flight attendant responsible for leaking the codes did so by accident.
How Could This Affect Passengers?
Hypothetically speaking, someone could use the access codes to request access to the cockpit, convincing those on the other side to open it. It’s not difficult to imagine any number of scenarios where the flight in question is compromised. This is an extreme scenario that will likely never come to pass.
United and its personnel have a variety of unnamed precautions in place to complement the security codes. They will likely change or alter the security codes, so the ones that were leaked are no longer valid.
The myriad of ups and downs in United’s recent history have certainly given investors a run for their money. You can see this reflected in stock performance over the past several weeks.
You may or may not remember the incident in April where a 69-year-old doctor traveling on a flight from Chicago to Louisville was forcibly removed. David Dao was dragged off flight 3411 by Chicago Aviation officers because he refused to give up his seat to airline employees. The incident was recorded on video, and the entire ordeal immediately went viral. Public outrage ensued at the airline industry’s common practice to overbook flights, which was the reason Dao lost his seat.
Both situations are serious, but a security breach on an entire fleet of airplanes is slightly more ominous.
Should You Be Worried?
The problem has been mitigated according to United, and it will continue to be as long as personnel continue to follow cockpit access procedures, which they should be doing at all times anyway. In addition to pilots having the last say, there’s a second code entry system in the cockpit of most planes. Flight attendants and personnel wishing to gain access must first ring a bell, and a code is entered on the pilot’s side.
In other words, there are plenty of other security measures in place, at least for the time being, so there’s absolutely nothing to worry about if you have a United flight scheduled.
All that aside, this situation proves the importance of personal security and privacy in today’s world. Even a minor accident can have dire consequences, such as the leak of important, secret access codes.
Some extremely troubling news has come out of the United Airlines camp as of late. It turns out that one of the company’s employees posted security codes online, codes which can be used to access the cockpit of most fleet planes.
There’s no question, this is a huge breach of security for the airline and could spell disaster if the codes fall into the wrong hands.