In perhaps the most unexpected story of the week, we have a wonderful combination of surveillance, the US government… and Pokemon. This comes as experienced hacktivist maia arson crimew was reportedly able to access a government No Fly List – sharing the news with her Sprigatito plush in the frame.
In what started as a cure for boredom, crimew ended up exploiting vulnerabilities in a server operated by the company CommuteAir. This escalated to the point where crimew was able to access the US government's No Fly List, making the full names of every individual banned from flying in the country visible. Oh, and the Sprigatito plush (named Bingle) was there throughout the whole thing.
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As reported by the Daily Dot, crimew was initially able to access private information about almost 1,000 CommuteAir employees through this hack. But the motherlode was still to come, thanks to the discovery of a document simply titled: "NoFly.csv."
According to crimew, it wasn't even that complicated. With a bit of digging, she accessed NoFly.csv and found 1.5 million rows of data – all with the private information of those barred from flying, having been suspected of ties to terrorist organisations.
CommuteAir has since confirmed the document's legitimacy, revealing that it was drafted four years ago. The information inside the document is being kept under wraps by crimew for the time being, with the screen hidden by a strategically placed Bingle.
As you can imagine, such a severe data breach contains a large amount of sensitive information. The No Fly List is made up of the names of those that the airlines and US government officials suspect of terrorist activity, and also includes all known aliases. While the list isn't being shared publicly, it's being reported that Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is featured, as well as suspected members of the IRA. Shockingly, one of the individuals on the list is just eight years old.
Whatever happens to the data, this is a significant story in regard to both US surveillance and the safety of our private information. It's also a story which will forever be associated with Pokemon, as Bingle gets a front-row seat to the wildest story of the week.