Internet Security Guru Points Out United Airlines Security Flaw, Thanked With FBI Detainment

A top internet security expert, Chris Roberts, was on a United Airlines flight when he noticed a flaw in the airline’s security system. The computer expert then took to Twitter to joke about the potential issue with the plane’s Wi-Fi system, but instead of airline computer officials looking into the problem, they had Roberts detained by FBI agents upon landing for making a “threatening” tweet.

According to the International Business Times, Roberts was detained by FBI agents upon exiting the plane at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Roberts says that his electronics were confiscated and that after the questioning, he was released. Despite losing a few of his electronic devices, Roberts thought the ordeal was over. However, when he arrived to the airport yesterday to board a different United Airlines flight, he was denied entrance and told he was not allowed on the flight.

So what was the “threatening” tweet that Roberts sent that resulted in his flight ban and FBI detainment?

The tweet above was sent from the plane indicating that there was a possible way to breach the plane’s security. Roberts says he was simply pointing out a flaw in a humorous way, but apparently United Airlines didn’t take the “threat” lightly. Now Roberts and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are working together to condemn United Airlines for their actions against the computer professional, and are asking for the airlines to deal with the security issue and leave Roberts alone.

“United’s refusal to allow Roberts to fly is both disappointing and confusing. As a member of the security research community, his job is to identify vulnerabilities in networks so that they can be fixed.”

Roberts has made numerous tweets in reply to the incident and notes that he still has not received his electronics back from the FBI and has no idea if he will ever be able to fly with United Airlines again.

What do you think about United Airlines’ reaction to Chris Robert’s tweet? Did they over-react or was the tweet a legitimate threat?

[Image Credit: United Airlines]

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