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Hackers May Use Your Phones To Hijack Airplanes, According To New Report

Airplane Mode. And Wifi Off Please.

Hackers are having a better chance than ever to hijack any flight that has a built-in Wifi Connection without onboard the plane, according to the latest report from the Government Accountability Office.

Technically, the onboard computer could be remotely taken over by someone using the plane’s passenger Wifi network, or even by someone on the ground. “Modern communications technologies, including IP connectivity, are increasingly used in aircraft systems, creating the possibility that unauthorized individuals might access and compromise aircraft avionics systems,” said to the report.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 4.47.47 PMHowever, there is a method that would help to avoid this dangerous incident: physically separate the networks so that a hacker on the plane can’t bridge one to the other, nor let a remote hacker pass malware through the internet connection to the plane’s avionics system. “A virus or malware planted in a website visited by passengers could provide an opportunity for a malicious attacker to access the IP-connected onboard information system through their infected machines.”

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This report exposed a real and serious threat — cyberattacks on an aircraft in flight. In 2008, while Boeing was in the final stages of production on its new Dreamliner line of planes, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a report directing Boeing to address concerns about the passenger Wifi system — “a special conditions” document that the FAA produces whenever it encounters new aircraft designs and technologies that aren’t addressed by existing regulations and standards — that was pointing out the same problem as today’s.

Almost immediately, Airbus released the following statement: “Airbus, in partnership with our suppliers, constantly assesses and revisits the system architecture of our products, with an eye to establishing and maintaining the highest standards of safety and security. Beyond that, we don’t discuss design details or safeguards publicly, as such discussion might be counterproductive to security.”

However, the report has been again alerting about aviation security since another commercial flight was dropped in Europe because the pilot had committed suicide. Maybe flights without Wifi are better choices for us currently.

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