June 9, 2018 at
A new potential threat has appeared, with larger consequences than ever before – according to the leaked report that came from the US government itself, the commercial jet flies might be in danger of being hacked. Security experts are working around the clock to locate and remove any security vulnerability in the plains’ software in fear of possible hacking attacks.
The potential for hacking a plane
According to the US government, there seems to be a legitimate reason for concern before hackers find a way to hack their way into the systems of commercial airliners. Obviously, such an achievement might have catastrophic disasters, and the US government fears that it is only a matter of time before this becomes a reality.
Because of this, the security experts are now in a race against time, and they are working constantly in an attempt to clear the security flaws that might allow anyone to gain unrestricted access to commercial jet flies.
One of the official documents states that the potential consequences of a hacking attack in this scenario are far greater than usual, since the targets might include airborne vehicles. Attempts to successfully hack planes are a real threat, as confirmed by DHS (Department of Homeland Security) back in 2016. At that time, the DHS managed to hack Boeing 757 via radio frequency comms.
DHS successfully found an exploit during testing
DHS’s Cyber Security Division member, Robert Hickey, stated that his team managed to gain access to the aircraft’s systems remotely, without cooperation from the plane’s crew. The details regarding the hack were revealed by Hickey at Virginia’s CyberSat Summit, during the speech that he held on this occasion.
According to him, the hack was performed in two days from the moment that the team got the plane on September 19, 2016. Hickey stated that he did it himself, which means that he did not have or need any help from the inside. Not only that, but he also claims to have used typical equipment, and managed to gain access to the airplane’s systems with it.
The equipment in question consisted of a combination of radio frequency communication, which was enough to hack the airplane. The more precise details of the hack were left out, for obvious reasons. With all of this in mind, the obvious conclusion is that the commercial fleets simply don’t have the cybersecurity on a level that is necessary to handle the modern threats.
The statement from the DHS confirms this, and in it, the Department has stated that they are taking the cybersecurity of aviation very seriously. Because of that, they are currently working with vendors and security researchers in order to uncover and eliminate all potential flaws in the aircrafts’ systems.
The entire aviation industry, including the airlines, as well as manufacturers, are currently working hard on preventing any incidents of this sort in the future. The risks are extremely high, and an oversight of any such flaw might end up in disaster, which is why the participants of this vulnerability hunt are not taking any chances.