6

In the pilot of Star Trek Voyager, at point 14:50 to be exact, we see young Ensign Kim report to the captain on the bridge and then directly assume his station (panel behind the captain's chair), without any authentication whatsoever. As seen numerous times before, officers authenticate themselves verbally, so why didn't Ensign Kim or other officers do that before taking their post? Isn't it a security vulnerability to just allow anyone operate the panels?

One possibility would be that the panels have fingerprint tech built-in, but that contradicts every other Trek episode where Enterprise or Voyager are taken over and the "bad guys" can also operate them.

8

In TNG lore, the answer appears to be that important panels require a user code to perform critical functions. In Hero Worship, Data saves a young boy who is the only survivor of his doomed ship. After some prying, they get him to tell them what he thinks is the cause: during one of the shockwaves, his arm struck a panel and the ship was destroyed soon after. Data replies

DATA: It is not possible. The onboard control systems for every starship require a user code clearance. You could not have inadvertently affected any of the Vico's systems.

My bet, based on this, is that the TNG ships probably had a short-term login. So, say, you log in and it's presumed to be you for the next 5 minutes. So you could see who executed what command and when (helpful for black box data). Just sitting at the helm would let him see what was going on. Without a need to execute commands, he could just sit there and probably execute unprivileged commands or just monitor the station.

  • +1 Aw! You beat me to this answer. I saw the question and even before I clicked on the link to it, I already thought of the episode, Hero Worship. – RichS Jul 3 '17 at 23:47

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