Florida woman arrested for alleged hacking of flight training school

A small plane taking off from the former Tegel 'Otto Lilienthal' airport in Berlin in November 2020;  used here as a stock photo.

A small plane taking off from the former Tegel ‘Otto Lilienthal’ airport in Berlin in November 2020; used here as a stock photo.
Photo: Odd Andersen / AFP (Getty Images)

Florida woman is under arrest after allegedly tampering with aircraft records belonging to a flight school, whose CEO warned the incident could have resulted in planes with previous maintenance issues taking off .

Local TV channel News channel 9 first reported that Lauren Lide, 26, of Brevard County, was the prime suspect in the offense. Charged authorities one count of fraudulent use of a computer and two counts of unauthorized access to a computer system or network.

Lide quit his job as flight operations manager at Melbourne Flight Training (MFT) in November 2019, the same day the company terminated the employment of his father Hampton Lide, the school’s maintenance manager. Investigators have determined that someone using the ID of the current flight operations manager made potentially dangerous changes to the theft software, MFT CEO Derek Fallon writing in an affidavit obtained by the Channel that does, model, and the tail numbers of 12 aircraft were missing, aircraft recalls were removed, and some craft reported as having maintenance issues were “cleared” for take-off.

According to motherboardFallon said he first noticed the changes in the Flight Circle app on January 17, 2020 and blocked all flights. He informed police of his suspicions that the Lides were behind the incident five days later.

An affidavit in the case prepared by a Melbourne airport police officer indicates that the planes that “Maybe he wasn’t sure to fly” were “deliberately made airworthy”. Hampton Lide:

Investigators determined that the IP address used to connect to the software belonged to Lauren Lide’s father. Lide’s father said he “had no idea” why his computer was used to access the MFT computer.

Pressed to find out if he knew of anyone who would want to sabotage computer information, he said, “I’m a little worried about my daughter at this point.”

According to police, Hampton Lide said her daughter “couldn’t wait to get out of here” and Fallon “tormented” her.

The father “confessed” to sabotaging the theft system, police said in court documents reviewed by News Channel 9, but detectives determined that “Lauren Lide is one of the few people in the area with the knowledge , skills, and the possibility of modifying »databases. The investigators would have did not disclose how Lide obtained the current employee’s password for Flight Circle.

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