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+ - After 911 Cockpits Are Harder to Invade But Easier to Lock up

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Jad Mouawad And Christopher Drew write in the NYT that although airplane cockpits are supposed to be the last line of defense from outside aggressors, airlines have fewer options if the threat comes from within as it appears that the co-pilot of the German jet crashed Tuesday took advantage of one of the major safety protocols instituted after the September 11, 2001, attacks that turned cockpits into fortresses. “It is shocking to me that there was not a second person present in the cockpit,” says Mark Rosenker, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Access to the cockpit is strictly regulated in the United States. Passengers are not allowed to congregate near the cockpit door, and whenever the door is open, no one is allowed in the forward bathroom and flight attendants usually block aisle access, sometimes using a food cart. The crash, which killed all 150 people aboard the Germanwings Airbus A320, highlights a major difference between European and American flight deck procedures. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that a flight attendant must sit in the cockpit when either pilot steps into the passenger area; European regulations do not have a similar two-person rule.

The Germanwings accident also points to potential shortcomings in how pilots are screened for mental problems, a recurring concern for an industry that demands focus and discipline in an increasingly technical job, often in stressful situations. In 2012, a well-regarded pilot with JetBlue, one of the airline’s earliest employees, was physically restrained by passengers on a flight from New York to Las Vegas after displaying erratic behavior. In that case, the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cabin and made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Tex. “Aircraft-assisted pilot suicides,” as the Federal Aviation Administration calls them, are rare. They include the November 2013 crash of a Mozambique Airlines plane bound for Luanda, Angola, which bears an eerie resemblance to the Germanwings plane’s demise. When the flight’s co-pilot left to use the lavatory, the captain locked him out of the cockpit and manually steered the aircraft earthward. The crash of Egypt Airlines Flight 990 off Nantucket, Mass., in 1999, which killed all 217 people on board, was also caused by deliberate action, a National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded. Experts on suicide say that the psychology of those who combine suicide with mass murder may differ in significant ways from those who limit themselves to taking their own lives. “This is not so different in some ways from someone who walks into a school and kills a bunch of people, and then kills themselves,” says Michelle Cornette adding that it was entirely possible that someone who was suicidal could pass psychological exams and receive a clean bill of health. “People know what’s going to raise a red flag.""

Comment: More reasons to worry (Score 1) 35

by hcs_$reboot (#49353355) Attached to: Big Vulnerability In Hotel Wi-Fi Router Puts Guests At Risk
How many smaller hotels, shop and other wifi APs bothered to change the default admin password? A lot did not. So, you may need a user password initially (as a customer), but then the setup page is usually at http://router/ where the router model and version are commonly displayed. A quick search on the Internet and you may try the default root/admin password which is quite likely to work. Then you may inject your own DNS servers, and voilà.
Not mentioning how you can also (even more) easily impersonate any of the no-password SSID that people know well (the phone/mac/pc will choose the highest Db one when both are available), and again redefine some DNS entries, add some filtering etc...
So this hotels security hole is maybe important - but the whole wifi/routers security concept is pretty much flawed in the first place (due to people negligence and incompetence, to routers manufacturers who want to provide an "easy setup" router, to other many entities keen on providing a free wifi access with no security at all etc...).

Comment: Re:people are going to be saying (Score 1) 706

by hcs_$reboot (#49353211) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

How is this modded insightful?

Because you have visual impairment. 1) the post is not modded at all insightful 2) it says "one of the first"... and referring to the lengthy design - way before its release - of the A320 family (wikipedia), it was decided early in the process to think of removing one position in the cockpit: 3-1 = 2.

Comment: Re:Where was the flight attendant? (Score 1) 706

by hcs_$reboot (#49351093) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

Fast forward a few years. Cabin attendant takes the crash axe from behind the copilot's seat and kills him with it.

Yes but what is the likeness of that? Two people including the cabin attendant having no clue about the commands - vs - one person secured alone in the cockpit. I'd say the latter is more likely to act erratically.

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