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LAX officials investigate hacking of flight status boards

April 22, 2013|By Robert J. Lopez and Andrew Blankstein | This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
  • LAX police officers keep busy at a ticket counter in the new north concourse of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.
LAX police officers keep busy at a ticket counter in the new north concourse… (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles…)

Operations personnel at Los Angeles International Airport late Monday were reviewing their computer systems to determine how multiple flight status boards were hacked to show an emergency message, authorities told The Times.

[Updated, 2:10 a.m. PDT April 23: LAX officials declared the display of an emergency evacuation message on flight status screens Monday night an accident. An airline contract worker with authorized access to the display system accidentally caused the override of screens that normally display flight statuses, according to LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles.]

For about a five-minute period in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the rogue message said, "Emergency Leave the Terminal," law enforcement authorities said.

Travelers noticed the messages about 10 p.m and alerted airport police. It was unknown whether any passengers left the terminal after seeing the messages.

Officers quickly swarmed the terminal near the boards to search for whoever was responsible for the breach. Authorities said it was not immediately clear whether the intrusion was made from another site. No suspects were identified late Monday.

Earlier this month, an electronic sign near USC was apparently hacked to display inappropriate messages about the Los Angeles Police Department.

But authorities said the breach at LAX was far more serious because it could have sparked widespread panic at one of the nation's busiest airports.

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Twitter: @LAJourno

robert.lopez@latimes.com

 Twitter @anblanx

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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