Police: Florida Woman Hacked Flight School, Marked Unsafe Planes as ‘Airworthy’

Small Plane

A 26-year-old woman allegedly hacked into the systems of a flight training school in Florida recently seeking revenge against her former employer for the firing of her father. The hacker deleted records and changed the flight status of airplanes. According to the police, “aircrafts which may have been unsafe to fly were purposely made ‘airworthy.'”

VICE News reports that a woman allegedly hacked into the internal network and systems of a flight training school in Florida in to alter information related to the school’s airplanes that could have caused major problems if successful.

Illustration of cybercrime (Photo credit should read "HELMUT FOHRINGER/APA-PictureDesk via AFP") Helmut Fohringer / APA-PictureDesk / APA

Illustration of cybercrime (Helmut Fohringer / APA-PictureDesk / APA)

According to a police report, the woman, a former employee, cleared a number of planes to fly that previously had maintenance issues and shouldn’t have been flown. According to the CEO of the school, the hack could have put pilots in danger.

The woman was identified as Lauren Liide, a 26-year-old who previously worked for the Melbourne Flight Training School but resigned from her position as Flight Operations Manager in November 2019 after the company fired her father. She then allegedly gained access to the company’s systems where she deleted and changed records in an attempt to get revenge on the school.

The CEO of the school, Derek Fallon, called the police on January 17th, 2020, and reported that he had logged into his Flight Circle account, which is an app used to track the school’s airplanes, and found that information was missing. He found that someone deleted records related to planes with maintenance issues and reminders for inspections. According to a document written by a Melbourne Airport Police officer, this meant that “aircrafts which may have been unsafe to fly were purposely made ‘airworthy.'”

In a sworn affidavit, Fallon stated: “Between the time the data was altered and fixed, it was a situation that could have endangered human life.” Fallon grounded all flights once he discovered the issue and five days later called the police to accuse Hampton Lide and his daughter Lauren of hacking the system.

The Flight Circle owner found that the records had been altered by someone that logged into the app using the credentials of Melbourne Flight Training’s current Flight Operations Manager. Police then found information relating to the IP address that was used to access the account and discovered that it belonged to Hampton Lide.

“There are no other companies/organizations at the Melbourne International Airport that use the Flight Circle program, so the knowledge required to modify/delete/alter these records would likely have had to come from an employee with Melbourne Flight Training with ‘administrator rights,” the Melbourne Police Department stated in the document.

Police investigators later stated that they believe that Lauren Lide used the Melbourne Flight Training’s current Flight Operations Manager account to alter the system data but it is currently unclear how she obtained the password of the account.

Hampton Lide claimed to have no knowledge of the events but said that he was “kinda concerned about my daughter.” In court documents, Lide stated: “You guys don’t know how [Fallon] fucked with her … I mean he fucked with her, and fucked with her and fucked with her, made her miserable, lied to her. She couldn’t wait to get out of there. You guys don’t get the torment he put her through, and the bullshit he put her through.”

Lauren Lide has been charged with a count of fraudulent use of a computer and two counts of unauthorized access to a computer system or network.

Read more at VICE News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.