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HomeBiz TechAirline Protocol Breach? United Airlines Cockpit Codes Made Public : TECH : Tech Times

Airline Protocol Breach? United Airlines Cockpit Codes Made Public : TECH : Tech Times

In a series of unfortunate airline mishaps, United Continental Holdings announced its cockpit door access information may have accidentally been leaked to the public.

The company, which owns United Airlines and United Express, alerted its pilots the access codes were posted on a public website by a flight attendant and stressed the importance of enforcing the security protocol.

To this effect, United Continental Holdings urged pilots to make sure all security procedures are followed through and that all persons allowed onto the flight deck have their identity visually confirmed beforehand, even if they punch in the correct security code into the cockpit door’s keypad.

The problem has been fixed as of Sunday, May 14, according to the Air Line Pilots Association or ALPA, a union that represents 55,000 pilots in the United States and Canada.

Not A Security Breach, Says United Airlines

Although the airline didn’t explain how the access codes ended up of the internet, the company did specify the problem was not a security breach.

“The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority and United utilizes a number of measures to keep our flight decks secure beyond door access information,” said Maddie King, airline spokeswoman.

“In the interim, this protocol ensures our cockpits remain secure,” she added.

In all likelihood, the United Airlines incident, which came to light on Saturday, was the result of human error, and not the work of a hacker, notes TechCrunch.

On Saturday, the airline sent an email to employees stating “the risk of a breach of the flight deck door is strongly mitigated by carefully following the flight deck security procedures.”

“Remember this information is sensitive security information and sharing this with anyone not authorized or who does not have a need to know is strictly prohibited,” underlined the email.

Airline Security Measures ‘Have Evolved’

The publication also reports that, even though in the past ALPA has called for the installation of secondary barriers on cockpit doors to reinforce security measures, airlines have deemed them unnecessary.

The reason: “Security measures have evolved in the years since the secondary barriers were ordered, and many more layers of security now exist,” says a United Airlines statement for the Chicago Tribune back in 2013, cited by TechCrunch.



On the other hand, aviation expert Joe Schwieterman told CBS 2 the situation was alarming, considering this type of security information “is meant to be carefully guarded.”

United Airlines, which operates nearly 4,500 flights every day, did not report any flight delays or cancellations associated with the leaked security codes.

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(Via TechTimes)