Today cell phones are highly sophisticated gadgets that have the ability to surf the Internet, call friends, play music and even take out 737 airplanes.
With smartphones and technology evolving, so should airline security.
Researcher Chris Roberts was not allowed to board a United Airlines flight from Colorado to San Francisco on April 18 because of a tweet that Roberts made days earlier.
Roberts tweeted that he was able to drop the oxygen masks with his phone.
According to an article by the Associated Press, Roberts founded One World Labs, which finds airline security risks before others are able to exploit the problems.
United Airlines and other commercial airlines need to take initiatives to address the security problems that researchers such as Roberts are trying to raise. Ever since the events of 9/11, airlines have taken the proper steps to ensure the safety of not only passengers, but civilians.
Background checks for security officers have been implemented, stronger law enforcement presence, baggage checking, passenger screening and other techniques are now being used to prevent another catastrophe.
Roberts’ tweet was meant as a joke, but he also wanted to get United Airlines’ attention. According to Roberts, his company has contacted United Airlines and other airlines about the potential problems, but has seen little progress.
What are airlines waiting for? Will it take another terrorist attack for airlines to evolve? Do innocent lives need to be lost in order for airlines to realize that other precautions need to be implemented?
United Airlines has released many statements regarding the situation, including statements claiming that no one could hack and access their controls. If that were the case, Roberts could not have been a threat.
Yet Roberts was not allowed to board his plane and his personal belongs, including his laptop and other electronic items, were confiscated without a search warrant.
The United States Government Accountability Office released a report on April 14, 2015 warning airlines that Internet connection can provide unauthorized access to aircraft avionic systems.
While it remains a possibility, the chances of someone being able to access the avionic systems are slim. Roberts stated that there are only a few people in the world who could achieve hacking the avionic systems.
United Airlines needs to form a better partnership with companies such as Roberts’ One World Labs because safety should always be the number one priority.
Roberts’ incident has garnered the attention necessary to change security measures. While Roberts is right for being concerned about the possibility of hackers taking advantage of airline security, Roberts’ platform of choice could not have been any worse.
Imagine being on a plane and someone next to you is tweeting out how they could hack the airline and manipulate the plane. That is a scary thought, because no one is completely sure of someone else’s intentions.