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Plane flight controls may be hacked mid-flight

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking,please stay in your seats. It’s not turbulence. We’ve been hacked.

Chris Roberts, a security researcher, has allegedly admitted to the FBI that he was able to hack into a plane and take over some flight controls while the plane was in flight. Roberts has previously made claims in various conferences and forums that such hacking was possible. He talked about the specific software that can be exploited (including the Apache Tomcat) in a plane’s computer network.

In his activities, Roberts was able to control one of the plane’s engines and move it off its designated course. He was also able to monitor traffic information from the cockpit. He told a news outlet that he was able to access in-flight networks 15 times during various flights that he sat in, accessing the network via the plane’s seat electronic box  (also known as SEB)

The FBI has already lodged a warrant against him and he has provided them an affidavit detailing his activities. He still maintains that he has done his activities responsibly and even urged other researches who will be interested in this area to proceed “carefully”.

Others in the security research field have decried his exposed practice. Some argued that his actions were too risky considering the risks and variables involved in the actual incidents. Considering the number of lives involved, they said that though this was in the interest of security, it may have gone on too far.

[Source: Wired, Business Insider] [Image Credits: now.avg.com]

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