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Apps and trickery give free access to airport VIP lounges

September 23, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Singapore has jailed a man for forging boarding passes that let him spend three weeks in Changi Airport’s executive lounges undetected – while in Poland a man has created a fake-boarding-pass app giving free access to airport lounges throughout Europe.

A Singapore court jailed Raejali Buntut, 32, an unemployed former businessman, for two weeks for creating fake boarding passes so he could access executive lounges. Apparently Buntut overslept and missed his flight to Kuala Lumpur on 21 August, and then decided to stay in comfort at Changi Airport’s VIP lounges.

The court heard that he used picture-editing software on his laptop to forge 31 electronic boarding passes – a requirement to gain access to VIP areas.


Singaore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold Lounge at Changi Airport

The technique allowed him to stay at the airport for three weeks without arousing suspicion, moving between lounges of the airport’s three main terminals using digitally altered Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines passes, the Straits Times reported.

He was finally caught when a staff member at Dnata Lounge in Terminal 1 became suspicious and called police.

Meanwhile, the head of Poland’s Computer Emergency Response Team, Przemek Jaroszewski, has demonstrated a simple program that has let him enter airline lounges throughout Europe. The Android app generates fake QR codes to spoof a boarding pass on his phone’s screen for any name or flight number.

Jaroszewski showed the new development at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas last month, according to online tech publication Wired. Defcon is one of the world’s largest annual hacker conventions, with many internet security people attending.

Jaroszewski, who flies 50 to 80 times a year, designed the app last year after an automated boarding pass reader mistakenly rejected his gold status.

He applied his hacker skills to make sure he’d never be locked out of an airline lounge again, Wired reports.

Wired adds that hackers have been generating fake boarding passes for some time. As long ago as 2003, cryptographer Bruce Schneier wrote about a way to make them.

Written by Peter Needham

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