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Monday, May 18, 2015

Weird news - A hacker could make the plane fly sideways by getting into the network

There are hacker movies a dime a dozen, which claim that hackers can do anything. If you are a fan of such doom movies, then they occupy prime time movie status, with the Die Hard version 4 showing a hacker bringing the United States down to its knees through a systematic attack on the infrastructure. And if you read articles that appear once in a while, they promise that eventually Chinese hackers will be able to get into everything - will be able to stop power networks, hobble infrastructure, stop water movements, basically at some point, when your household instruments are also connected to the internet, then you could see your fridge also being taken over by hackers.
These stories are mostly ignored by people, being seen as something out of the world, too far into the future and maybe with a belief that the Government will be eventually able to stop things like this from happening. However, then you see a news story which seems pretty horrifying. Already, with the recent plane crash of a German airline, where the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit and then crashed the plane, flying suddenly got much scarier (where you can't even depend on the pilot); now you read a news story where a person on board the flight was able to hack into the plane though the entertainment system and then control the engine; this is going to make you even more scared than you thought (link to article):
A computer security expert hacked into a plane's in-flight entertainment system and made it briefly fly sideways by telling one of the engines to go into climb mode. Chris Roberts of One World Labs in Denver was flying on the plane at the time it turned sideways, according to an FBI search warrant filed in April. The warrant was first publicized on Friday by APTN, a Canadian News Service. Roberts told the FBI he had hacked into planes "15 to 20 times," according to court documents first made public on 15 May. Roberts first made news in April when he was told he couldn't fly on United Airlines because of tweets he had made about whether he could hack into the flight's onboard computer settings.

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