Anyone who travels throughout the year, knows that dreaded moment when the flight attendants semi politely tell you, “It’s time to stow your phone.” Which really means, “Turn off that phone and get it out of my sight before I kick you off this plane!” But we digress. Every time that happens most people think, “Man please, it doesn’t really matter if I leave my phone on or off, nothing will happen to this plane!” We’ve been guilty of thinking that, too!
Welp, according to animalnewyork.com we are all wrong! Lot’s can go wrong when smart phones and airplanes mix! Apparently you can hijack an airliner by hacking into the plane’s system with an Android smart phone!
Animalnewyork.com reports that at a security conference in Amsterdam, hacker and researcher Hugo Teso demonstrated how to hijack a plane’s controls from the ground using his Android smartphone.
So, it can be done without the hacker having to be on the plane at all?! Creepy doesn’t even cover it! Teso exploited the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Report System (ACARS), which controls planes’ flight management systems and has very little in the way of security.
“You can use this system to modify approximately everything related to the navigation of the plane. That includes a lot of nasty things. ACARS has no security at all. The airplane has no means to know if the messages it receives are valid or not, so they accept them and you can use them to upload data to the airplane that triggers these vulnerabilities. And then it’s game over.”
So basically, don’t even ask if we’ll ever be allowed to use our phones to make calls on the plane anymore, those days are most assuredly over!
The manufacturer of the flight management system that Teso hacked, Honeywell, said;
“We take this seriously and we’re going to work with N.Runs (Teso’s employer) to assess this, But as Teso readily admits, the version he used of our flight management system is a publicly available PC simulation, and that doesn’t have the same protections against overwriting or corrupting as our certified flight software.”
Yeah ok, whatever! We’ll just say this, when we board our flights next week, we’re going to be looking around a whole lot more on that plane! People better put their darn phones away! What do you think? Does knowing about this make you nervous to fly? Take the poll and have your say!