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Airline Bans Passenger after Tweet

Airline Bans Passenger after Tweet

A security researcher has been banned from United Airlines after he tweeted that he might be able to hack the aircraft's systems.

Chris Roberts was due to fly from Colorado to San Francisco to talk at a major conference on Saturday, however before the flight he tweeted that he thought he could deploy the oxygen masks on board.

Mr Roberts is the founder of cyber security firm One World Labs, which tries to find vulnerabilities in IT systems and alert companies to them before they are exploited by criminals.

Commenting on the ban, United Airlines said: "We are confident our flight control systems could not be accessed through techniques [Mr Roberts] described."

This isn't the first time Mr Roberts has been removed from an airline, as last Wednesday he was banned from another United flight by the FBI who took his laptop away and questioned him for four hours.

As part of his job, Mr Roberts had given several interviews to the media in which he commented on the possible weak points of airline systems.

He said: "Quite simply put, we can theorise on how to turn the engines off at 35,000ft (10,668m) and not have any of those damn flashing lights go off in the cockpit."

He also said that he could connect to a computer under his seat to view data from the aircrafts' engines, fuel and flight management systems.

Commenting on the event, a spokesman for United Airlines, Rahsaan Johnson said: "Given Mr Roberts's claims regarding manipulating aircraft systems, we've decided it's in the best interest of our customers and crew members that he not be allowed to fly United.

"However, we are confident our flight control systems could not be accessed through techniques he described."

When asked why United Airlines did not allow Mr Roberts to fly, Johnson said: "We made this decision because Mr Roberts has made comments about having tampered with aircraft equipment, which is a violation of United policy and something customers and crews shouldn't have to deal with."


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