He Found a 'Loophole' for a 'Free' Flight. Now, a Lawsuit

Brussels Airlines is suing hacker who flew himself, 2 pals to New York for free
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2020 9:34 AM CST
Hacker Who Flew Himself, Pals to NY for Free Being Sued
In this April 3, 2016, file photo, a Brussels Airlines plane takes off at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium.   (AP Photo/Benoit Doppagne, pool, file)

An overseas airline has filed a lawsuit against a hacker who booked a "free" flight from Belgium to New York. The Brussels Times reports that Brussels Airlines wants $22,000 in damages from the 25-year-old man after he flew himself and two buddies to the US in business class in 2016. "The man bought a number of tickets through a special app that was intended for employees only," prosecuting attorney Karel Berteloot tells HLN, adding that the man then canceled the tickets to get his money back, but fiddled with the URL on the tickets to somehow get them to still work on boarding day. Per USF News, the airline's $22,000 damages request includes the price of the tickets themselves, miscellaneous airport fees, and around $1,000 the airline coughed up to close the "loophole" that allowed the hacker to get into the airline's system in the first place.

It's not the first time this particular individual has been busted "for similar facts," per the Times: He was convicted in 2017 of hacking into the networks of companies including Lufthansa and Mobistar and is on probation. The hacker's lawyer said the $1,000 penalty shouldn't be included, arguing that the hacker did the airline a favor by showing it "exactly where [its] weaknesses are." "They should be grateful for that," the lawyer adds, per HLN. Berteloot doesn't concur: "The man would [be better off using] his talents legally." A verdict in the hacker's case is expected later this month. (After these scooters were hacked, they started offending people.)

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