Daily Management Review

Airlines Pays Hackers Millions of Miles of Free Fight for Hacking Their System


Airlines Pays Hackers Millions of Miles of Free Fight for Hacking Their System
Hacking is not always a serious net crime but can also lead to thousands of free flying as two American youth recently found out.
Rewarding hackers has been a part of the IT industry that use the expertise of hackers to detect flaws in their IT systems. But this time an international airline not only announced the rewards but actually granted two individuals the bounty prize.
Facebook gives a financial reward of $500 for finding a fault with the site while Twitter gives $250 as rewards to hackers for finding a law. However experts claim that with the increasing automated critical functions and the threat of cyber breaches more acute, companies and organizations outside the IT industry are also utilizing the practice.
United Airlines rewarded two hackers recently with 1 million air travel miles for uncovering security flaws in Airline’s software system. The hackers broke into the company’s system and later privately informed the airlines about the flaws.
Companies adopt this strategy to verify the flaws in their IT systems and develop and strengthen the systems further.
The rewards by the United Airlines include free inter-continental flight between the United States and Europe for a total of 33 times. The airlines had introduced the program nick named “bug bounty” sometime back this year in May to identify flaws in their IT systems. This was the first tie that any company form the transportation industry had introduced such a program. Analysts say that the reward that was granted was also unique as most associate monetary rewards with such cases.
The Airlines however did not reveal the identities of the two hackers, however one of the hackers tweeted the news a day ago and the matter came to light.
United Airlines is the second largest airlines of the United States. It may be recalled that computer hick ups had grounded dozens of flights of the airlines twice, once in June and then again in July. Faults in the airline’s flight dispatch system resulted in the delay of 150 flights no June 2. Just about a month later, on July 8, the reservation system of the airline malfunctioned and passengers were not allowed to board or check in for their flights for two hours. This was also the same day when technical problems resulted in the stalling of trading at the New York Stock Exchange.
The US airline trade body, Airlines for America, however was not very appreciative of the program and claimed ignorance about the program. In a statement, the organization said that all the airlines take their customers' privacy seriously and all necessary measures are taken to secure passenger data. The organization claims that most of the airlines also have internal security checking programs for information as well as intrusion systems checks.

(Source: http://www.upi.com &www.washingtonpost.com)