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A person with an ordinary laptop can hack an airport

A person with an ordinary laptop can hack an airport
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

You know all that expensive airport technology designed to keep us safe from terrorists and hijackers? It looks like our security needs its own security. A security researcher went to the airport and had a field day with the systems.

The scariest part? All he needed to take over these systems was his handy-dandy laptop.

In 2013, the popular cybersecurity expert Billy Rios began traveling to airports around the world to test three of the most common security machines in security checkpoints today: an X-ray scanner, an explosives detector called an itemiser and a time clock.

What he found was shocking.

Most airports only require a simple passcode to gain full access to these machines, meaning anyone with a laptop and a bit of hacking knowledge could break into the security system and take over everything.

“So anyone that knew the username and password, which we know, could just log into the device and get access to an airport network,” Rios told IT Portal. “It just takes one second to abuse some of the vulnerabilities that we’ve seen.”

Rios did not keep this to himself. He went straight to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and issued a warning about password vulnerabilities in some explosive detection machines. And according to NBCNewYork, the issues didn't stop with the X-ray scanner, itemiser and time clock. There were many more issues brought to the DHS's attention.

“The bar is too low,” Rios explained. “There will always be security issues, we can’t solve every single security issue, but we shouldn’t have the bar be so low that anybody can hack into these devices. The bar has to be a lot higher.”

We agree, but what do you think? Are airports the next hacking nightmare waiting to happen or is this just an overreaction to a new study?

Tell me what you think by commenting below.

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