AVIATION FEARS AS HACKER SAYS HE CAN TAKE OVER A COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE WITH AN APP – A computer hacker and commercial airline pilot, Hugo Teso, 30, has said that he has developed a Smartphone App that could control a commercial airplane from the ground; although the user would have to have extensive knowledge of operations and protocol.
His revelation is design to highlight the vulnerabilities of aircraft systems and while this currently does not work on a ‘live plane’ but only through a simulator, it is a stark reality that such a program could be developed by terrorists in the near future.
It is without doubt a terrifying prospect that our air travel could be placed in such peril by would-be terrorist and considering the rising level of threats from Islamic fundamentalists the aviation industry must take this seriously.
The idea behind the app is that it would be able to infiltrate and take over a plane’s flight control systems; rendering the pilots powerless to counteract any such attack and without having the ability to control the movements of the aircraft; however this is ONLY the case if the ‘autopilot’ is engaged – if the pilot disengages the autopilot system they are able to gain full control.
From the video above you can see how Hugo gave a presentation, using flight simulator software, where he was able to control the aircrafts movements simply from his Smartphone and App that he developed. Hugo also went on to confirm that the App can control everything from the flight navigational systems to the air conditioning system. One of the most frightening aspects is that it can also feel ‘false’ navigational information to the system that would make the aircraft change course and altitude.
After this featured on YouTube European and U.S Federal Authorities are now seeking to interview Hugo Teso and get more information about his PlaneSploit App.
During the ‘Hack In the Box’ conference in Amsterdam he told audiences that after four years of research he was able, using a flight simulator; which uses the same Flight Management Systems as commercial aircraft, to ‘subvert’ the system and take it over completely.
Considering the dangers from Al Qaeda authorities are taking this seriously. While Hugo did say this only works with the ‘autopilot’ switched on their is a fear that a gas could be used to render pilots unconscious while the autopilot is engaged and then take full control of the aircraft with devastating consequences.