United flight crew inadvertently shares cockpit codes online

Sometimes the biggest security risks are self-inflicted.

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

You don't need lax airport screening to create security risks aboard flights. As the TSA found out, you just need someone to post the wrong details on the internet. The Wall Street Journal has learned that a United Airlines (yes, it's in the news again) flight attendant mistakenly posted cockpit door access codes online. While the Air Line Pilots Association says the situation has been resolved, the codes haven't changed yet. Until then, pilots will have to be extra-cautious -- they're already supposed to look at would-be visitors, but they just got a reminder that they can't take a valid code for granted.

It's not clear what the solution is. A memo only mentions "corrective action." United was quick to stress that its cockpit security measures go "beyond door-access information," though. And in practice, it's not very likely that terrorists or pranksters will storm the cabin -- not when the codes haven't been widely published. Even so, the incident suggests that airlines may need to both educate crews on the risks of internet sharing and look at secondary barriers to prevent determined attackers from getting through.

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