hacking

A story is making the rounds today that you might not want to read before stepping on a passenger jet today if you’re a nervous flyer. A cyber security researcher called Ruben Santamarta has claimed that he has found a way to hack into a passenger jet’s communications equipment through the plane’s inflight entertainment system and Wi-Fi. Santamarta will unveil all of the gritty details during his talk at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas this week.

Reuters reports that Santamarta’s talk is expected to be one of the most widely watched talks at the conference. It deals with communications equipment that is not only used in jets but also in industrial facilities, military vehicles, ships and more, so if the exploit were to fall in the wrong hands it could very well wreak havoc.

To be fair though Santamarta does say that the hack he has come up with has only been tested in controlled environments within a laboratory so it might be a bit difficult to recreate it the real world. But he’s going public with his discoveries nonetheless to force the manufacturers’ hand, force them to fix these seemingly nominal security flaws.

Some of Santamarta’s research findings have been confirmed by aviation communication equipment manufacturers like Cobham and Iridium though they downplay the risks, with Cobham saying that its not possible for hackers to get into its communications equipment without having physical access to the cockpit.

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