Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 31, 2006

Airline document-creation site shut down by FBI

Filed under: Aviation Security,Investigation & Enforcement — by Christian Beckner on October 31, 2006

Note to self: don’t create script to allow anyone to print out fake airline boarding passes:

A website that let anyone with an Internet connection and a printer create fake airline boarding passes has been shut down after federal agents visited the creator.

FBI agents raided Christopher Soghoian’s home over the weekend, seizing computers and other equipment, Soghoian wrote on his blog. They first visited him Friday afternoon with a request to take the site down, but when he got online, he found that the site had already been removed, he wrote.

….Soghoian’s “Northwest Airlines Boarding Pass Generator” let people create boarding passes that look virtually identical to the ones printed from the Northwest Airlines website. They could be used to get past airport security, but not to get on an airplane, because the airline would have no record of the reservation, Soghoian said.

Here’s Soghoian’s blog. While it probably wasn’t the wisest move to create this script and put it online, I think that making a criminal case out of this is an unfortunate response. Instead, the FBI and/or the airlines should be focusing on strengthening the security of commercial aviation documents – perhaps by working with Soghoian and offering him a job.

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Comment by Michael Hampton

October 31, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

I’ve been covering this story all weekend, and I have a few more details. :)

Comment by Ny

November 2, 2006 @ 1:01 am

On his Website – he had indicated that his reasons for putting it online was not out or malice – but it would be the only way to get their attention, and prompt further corrective actions.

He did in fact put an obvious warning on his site – that the pass was NOT VALID and should not be used.

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