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FBI Report: Passenger Hacked Into Plane's Controls and Made It Fly Sideways

"far more serious situation ..."

Image source: AP

A security researcher for airline vulnerabilities told the FBI he hacked into controls while on board a flight and made the aircraft climb and briefly fly sideways, Wired reported, citing an application for a search warrant filed by an FBI agent.

Image source: AP Image source: AP

Chris Roberts of One World Labs told the FBI agent in February that he entered the in-flight entertainment system (IFE) and overwrote code on the aircraft's Thrust Management Computer, Wired added.

“He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights,” FBI Special Agent Mark Hurley wrote in his warrant application, Wired noted. “He also stated that he used Vortex software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”

Roberts attempted to board a United flight from Colorado to San Francisco to speak at a major security conference in April but was stopped by the airline’s corporate security at the gate. He'd been removed from an earlier United flight by the FBI after landing in Syracuse, New York, and was questioned for four hours after jokingly suggesting on Twitter he could get the oxygen masks on the plane to deploy.

The information in the warrant application demonstrates a "far more serious situation than Roberts has previously disclosed," Wired reported, adding that Roberts earlier mentioned the ability to control a plane during a simulated test in a digital environment — but not while on a commercial airline.

You can read the entire Wired story here.

(H/T: Drudge Report)

Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

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