Woman Hacks Flight School, Clears Broken Planes To Fly – Report

A hack in the United States has provided a sobering example of possible real world consequences, after a flight training school was reportedly hacked.

A young woman allegedly hacked into the systems of a flight training school in Florida in order to delete and tamper with information related to the school’s aeroplanes, Vice reported.

In some cases, aeroplanes that previously had maintenance issues were “cleared” to fly, according to a police report.

Flight school hack

What makes this case worse is the hacker was allegedly known to the flight training school.

According to Vice, 26 year old Lauren Lide, used to work for the Melbourne Flight Training school. However she resigned from her position of Flight Operations Manager at the end of November of 2019, after the company fired her father.

Months after that, Lide allegedly hacked into the systems of her former company, deleting and changing records, in an apparent attempt to get back at her former employer, according to court records obtained by Motherboard.

It seems that Derek Fallon, CEO of Melbourne Flight Training, called the police on 17 January 2020, and reported that five days before, he logged onto his account for Flight Circle, an app his company uses to manage and keep track of its airplanes, and found that there was missing information.

Fallon reportedly found that someone had removed records related to planes with maintenance issues and reminders of inspections had all been deleted, “meaning aircraft which may have been unsafe to fly were purposely made ‘airworthy,’” according to a document written by a Melbourne Airport Police officer.

“Between the time the data was altered and fixed, it was a situation that could have endangered human life,” Fallon stated in a sworn affidavit.

Fallon then grounded all flights. Five days later, he called the police and accused Hampton Lide and his daughter Lauren of being behind the hack, according to the document.

Police charges

It is reported that the hacker allegedly logged into the system to tamper with the record, by someone who logged in with the credentials of Melbourne Flight Training’s current Flight Operations Manager.

Police investigators then obtained the IP address used to access that account, and found that it belonged to Hampton Lide.

The police also reported subpoenaed Google for information about a Gmail account used to log into the Flight Circle app, and found that the email address belonged to a user with the name “The Lides.”

It should be noted that Hampton Lide had denied having knowledge of these events, but said he was “kinda concerned about my daughter.”

Lide has been charged with a count of fraudulent use of a computer, and two counts of unauthorised access to a computer system or network.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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