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FBI: researcher admitted to hacking plane in-flight, causing it to climb

FBI researcher admitted to hacking plane in flight causing it to climb Ars Technica


FBI: researcher admitted to hacking plane in-flight, causing it to “climb” Chris Roberts "overwrote code" on Thrust Management Computer, according to affidavit. by Cyrus Farivar - May 16, 2015 11:30am PDT

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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.

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Are you freaking kidding me?! Not good!

Well that's just fucking great... there goes using all my frequent flier miles...

The first step toward fixing the problem is knowing the problem exists.

The second step is acknowledging the problem.

Hopefully this was a wakeup call to fix in-flight technology.

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