People who are frequent fliers will be interested to know that an internet security consultant has recently said that airplanes can be hacked and controlled via a smartphone running on the Android platform. Huge Tesco says that a certain Android app allows him to control a plane from his phone and make it ‘dance to his tune’.
The concept behind the hack is the interception and hijacking of radio broadcasts that are sent out between the air traffic control office and the airplane. Tesco was able to hack into various control systems of a plane in a proof-of-concept showing at Hack In The Box Conference, being held at Amsterdam.
The flight management system (FMS) on the aircraft subvert was developed by Hugo after he put in around four years of research into the task. The security consultant was able to change air conditioner settings, change FMS data, flash cockpit lights and do other interesting things via the app on his phone.
The system would work over a wireless or 3G connection and would need to be close to the antennae that send signals to aircraft. The app would also work over a distance of 160 km and could possibly even work at an altitude of 30,000 ft. However, it must be noted that the system has not been tested on a real flight as of now.