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A newly-published search warrant application shows that an aviation computer security researcher told the FBI that he briefly took control of at least one commercial airliner. The warrant, which was filed in a federal court in New York state, was first published Friday by APTN, a Canadian news site.
According to the affidavit for the warrant application, the researcher, Chris Roberts, told the FBI that he:
connected to other systems on the airplane network after he exploited/gained access to, or "hacked" the [in-flight entertainment] system. He stated that he then overwrote code on the airplane’s Thrust Management Computer while aboard a flight. He stated that he successfully commanded the system he had accessed to issue the climb command. He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights. He also stated that he used Vortex software after compromising/exploiting or "hacking" the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.
Since this incident, United has instituted a bug bounty program.
Bugs on onboard Wi-Fi, entertainment systems or avionics
According to the application, Roberts traveled from Denver to Chicago via United flight 1474 on April 15th, and when agents checked it, they found damage and evidence of tampering to the electronic system under his seat. On Twitter, Roberts has since claimed that no systems were harmed during the trip, and more recently, that discussion is "out of context." He told Wired in an interview that he had only ever tapped in to watch data traffic on airplanes, and while he believed such hacks were possible, he has only done them in a simulated environment.
Last month's arrest spurred warnings from the TSA and FBI to watch out for passengers trying to access internal networks. Now, while law enforcement sorts out the difference between theoretical and actual hacking, it may be a good idea to tuck in any loose network cables while going through security.
originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: hopenotfeariswhatweneed
This scenario is not implausible,and quite scary really,even if it is only claimed that does not make the story any less believable ...
Less than "not very" you mean?