Friday 23 December 2016

Hackers Could Take Control of a Plane Using In-Flight Entertainment System

A major vulnerability has been found in the in-flight entertainment system which can be worked upon by the hackers to take control over the aircraft. The vulnerable in-flight entertainment systems were mainly found in some of the major airlines which include Virgin, Emirates and Qatar. The security hole has been effectively found in the Panasonics branded Avionics which is a in-flight system used in planes across 13 major airlines in the world. This would result in not just taking cover the flight but it will result in leaking passengers’ information. However Panasonic has simply denied any possibility of inflicting damage or causing safety alerts with its in-flight systems.

A reputed researcher sheds light on the vulnerability

A researcher named Ruben Santamarta stated that the vulnerability found in the in-flight entertainment system is a grave concern for the safety of craft and the passengers alike. He further elaborated that hijacking the in-flight system which lends the ability to the hackers to make changes in the critical information related to the altitude and location.

They can even control the cabin lightening and along with possibility of hacking into the announcement system. When all these factors are taken into the question then it will result in a paranoid and hugely unsettling experience for the passenger. In short whether the hackers indulge in driving the aircraft haywire or not but it will certainly end in a traumatic journey for the passengers.

A possible loss of financial details is also under play if a hacker gets into the flight system. They will be able to do away with the credit card details of the frequent fliers which are stored in the automatic payment system. Depending on the security level imposed on the aircraft system hackers might get access to the aircraft’s controls which are an area of huge concern.

How much damage can be inflicted on the plane? 

The real extent of damage which can be inflicted on the plane by making use of this vulnerability to dependent on the security designed for the craft. The more the internal systems are isolated from one another the lesser will be the damage. If passenger entertainment system isn’t connected with aircraft control or passenger device then the damage will be limited but it isn’t the case always.

Rube therefore offers a piece of advice as well as warning to the airlines to remain vigilant with the behavior of their in-flight systems and ensure that it remains aloof from the critical aircraft’s control. Panasonic was alerted in 2015 about the vulnerabilities in its in-flight aircraft system in Mach 2015 by IOActive.

This means Panasonics had enough time to fix all the problems associated with its in-flight but Panasonic failed to do so which allowed IOActive to public with the information about vulnerability. Panasonics has defended itself by releasing a statement where it maintained that the information offered by IOActive is inaccurate and misleading and based on ‘theoretical’ assumption.

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