Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fake boarding passes can fool airport security checks, experts say

WASHINGTON — More than 11 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it remains possible to use fake boarding passes to get through airport security checks, according to new evidence from security researchers and official documents.

The security vulnerabilities could allow terrorists or others on "no-fly" lists to pass through airport checkpoints with fraudulent passes and proceed through expedited screening. They could even allow them to board planes, security analysts warn.

The Washington Post was alerted to the vulnerabilities by concerned passengers and verified them through independent security experts. At the request of U.S. officials, the Post is withholding details that would make it easier for the vulnerabilities to be exploited.

The security gaps center on airline boarding passes, which can be issued up to 24 hours before a flight's departure. According to security researchers, the bar codes on those passes can be manipulated with widely available technology to change the information they contain: passenger identification, flight data, and codes indicating whether a passenger has qualified for expedited screening.

Information about reading and altering boarding pass bar codes has circulated on online forums for several months, and has recently been picked up by security researchers. Many of them note that the potential for tampering with the passes has been exacerbated by the proliferation of smartphones that can read the bar codes and free software that can manipulate them.

Guidelines set by the Transport Security Administration allow airlines to add an encrypted "digital signature" to prevent boarding passes from being altered. But some experts said they were surprised to learn that not all passes include authentication.

"It's alarming — this basically negates the no-fly list," said Chris Soghoian, a fellow at Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research and principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union.

It remains difficult to establish the full extent of the vulnerabilities without information from the TSA.

Comments
Castroneves slides into sports cars to lead Penske team

Castroneves slides into sports cars to lead Penske team

Helio Castroneves to anchor Roger Penske's new sports car team this weekend at Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Back on right path, Robinson High’s Byron Pringle hopes to impress at Senior Bowl

Back on right path, Robinson High’s Byron Pringle hopes to impress at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. — Byron Pringle understands how easily his life could have gone another way."I’ve been through a lot, but I’m very blessed," he said. "What happened in the past, it made me who I am today. It’s made me realize you have to value the thing...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Schumer takes back wall offer in new immigration push

Schumer takes back wall offer in new immigration push

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer has taken back his offer of billions of dollars for President Donald Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall
Updated: 13 minutes ago

AP Top News at 9:37 p.m. EST

AP Top News at 9:37 p.m. EST
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Career Q&A: Sharpen interview skills to overcome impression of shyness

Career Q&A: Sharpen interview skills to overcome impression of shyness

Q: At the end of a recent interview, the manager told me that I would not be getting the job. He said I wasn’t a good fit for the position because I was shy. As a naturally introverted person, I found this very discouraging. How can I avoid similar p...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Ursula Le Guin, acclaimed for her fantasy fiction, is dead at 88

Ursula Le Guin, acclaimed for her fantasy fiction, is dead at 88

Ursula Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy with books like The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea series, died Monday at her home in Portland, Ore...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Pence visits Western Wall amid tensions with Palestinians

Pence visits Western Wall amid tensions with Palestinians

JERUSALEM — Vice President Mike Pence placed his hand on the hallowed Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday as he wrapped up a four-day trip to the Mideast that ended with Palestinians still fuming over the Trump administration’s decision t...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

Lightning journal: Mikhail Sergachev a healthy scratch

NASHVILLE — Lightning rookie D Mikhail Sergachev was a healthy scratch Tuesday for the first time this season.Coach Jon Cooper didn’t elaborate on the move, just labeling it a "coach’s decision."It was a bold decision, especially with the team alread...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough School Board member seeks to unmask “The Whistleblower”

Hillsborough School Board member seeks to unmask “The Whistleblower”

A citizen journalist who published his reports anonymously was just outed at a Hillsborough County School Board meeting.He might have been, anyway.Responding to a tirade from resident Jason Ferger, board member April Griffin announced that Ferger is ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lawmakers call for additional investigations into Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource boards

Lawmakers call for additional investigations into Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource boards

Federal and state lawmakers are calling on Congress and the Florida House of Representatives to investigate whether two regional workforce centers inflated the number of people they helped find jobs. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D–St. Petersburg, and sta...
Updated: 1 hour ago