Passenger Kicked Off Plane For Tweet

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Chris Roberts was taken off a United Airlines from Chicago to Syracuse, New York flight last month after tweeting. What did he tweet, you wonder? He tweeted “about security vulnerabilities in its system had previously taken control of an airplane and caused it to briefly fly sideways, according to an application for a search warrant filed by an FBI agent.” Apparently Roberts has hacked into in-flight entertainment abord several flights and even briefly make a plane change course, the report says.

Passenger Kicked Off Plane For Tweet

As reported by

Chris Roberts, a security researcher with One World Labs, told the FBI agent during an interview in February that he had hacked the in-flight entertainment system, or IFE, on an airplane and overwrote code on the plane’s Thrust Management Computer while aboard the flight. He was able to issue a climb command and make the plane briefly change course, the document states.

“He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights,” FBI Special Agent Mark Hurley wrote in his warrant application (.pdf). “He also stated that he used Vortex software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”

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You can read the article in its entirety here. There are a lot more details involved in this story.

Bottom Line

I don’t know how this story will unfold, but I don’t think I want to fly with this guy. It will be interesting to see how this story plays out and what if any changes are made to prevent security breaches such as this in the future. What do you think? Stay tuned.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. Agree with you on that… perhaps this is why United is offering up to a million miles for hacking their systems

  2. To me the tweet sounds like a threat and the hacking could have had caused serious problems. To hack in and actually control any aspect of the plane is totally different than hacking in and just reporting the vulnerability.

    He said he was “carrying thumb drives containing malware to compromise networks—malware that he told them was ‘nasty'”. That’s enough for me. I guess he just wrote the malware for the heck of it.

  3. If dude read Boarding area, he could’ve gotten himself a million miles instead of getting thrown off a flight!

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