Wed, Nov 01, 2006
Wanted To Illustrate Flaws In Airport Security
Have you ever wondered
how that ticket agent knows the airline boarding pass you printed
on your home computer the night before is authentic?
Well, an Indiana University computer grad student enrolled in
their School of Infomatics took his curiosity a little too far and
was visited by the friendly folks from the FBI.
Christopher Soghoian says he built a website to mimic the
Northwest Airlines boarding pass generator because he wanted to
illustrate flaws in airport security. His on-screen example of a
fake boarding pass had the name "Osama bin Laden" on it, but users
could input any name they wanted.
His blog is now populated with all the details of his arrest and
the mess the feds made to his apartment. He is also appealing for
pro-bono lawyers to help with his case and has a Paypal account for
donations to his defense fund. The university has told him he's on
his own and won't be getting any extra credit.
Soghoian insists no one could actually board a plane because the
bar code on the fake pass wouldn't match any of the other
information of the passenger, but the boarding pass could get at
least get you past the initial security screening and "help you
meet your elderly grandparents at the gate".
The FBI still has his computers and his printer in custody and
this computer student probably won't be getting them back any time
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