Cyberwarfare: Hijacking aircraft

By | April 12, 2013
So, terrorists could theoretically bring a (modded) radio and smartphone on board, hijack an aircraft, and reroute it to the Pentagon. What now – electronic devices banned from on-board equipment lists in interest of public safety?

If anything: this demonstration proves two points:
1. Cyber attacks are the future warheads. Maybe we will see also cold war of cyber threats.
2. Every Software and Hardware manufacturer, regardless of branch, needs to use the wake-up call to think through the real impact that increasingly powerful smartphones could have on their Systems.

/via +Eli Fennell 

Hacker Demonstrates Ability To Remotely Hijack An Airplane Using A Smartphone | Cult of Android
You can get some pretty cool gadgets that can be remote controlled by your smartphones and tablets, such as helicopters, cars, and even tanks. But who wants one of those when you can control the real …

15 thoughts on “Cyberwarfare: Hijacking aircraft

  1. Jim Lai

    Alternatively, anyone from anywhere could route through China to mask their origin while another country gets the expected blame. They've got a lot of pirated Windows boxes in place to prey on, I'm sure.

  2. Sophie Wrobel

    +Abe Pectol Agreed, smartphones are not really relevant – just an example of an ubiquitous general computing device which everyone has and no one today can imagine as something that would be banned anywhere.

  3. Abe Pectol

    Just yet another story about the horrors of security realities of the modern embedded stuff.

    Smartphones are barely relevant here, planes — merely incidental.

    Also, +Scott Hatch, “kinetic force to strike back against enemy hackers” — I'd think the largest problem would be finding the hackers, not punishing them (or, for example, someone from china could mask as a mexican governmental hacker attacking united states government; that could get fun horrible).

  4. Sophie Wrobel

    +Víktor Bautista i Roca No, you don't need to be onboard. But you need to get to the aircraft communications, which in the simulation assumed physical proximity. The alternative is to hack into the ground systems, which is a bit more challenging.

  5. Víktor Bautista i Roca

    «So, terrorists could theoretically bring a (modded) radio and smartphone on board, hijack an aircraft, and reroute it to the Pentagon.»

    Are you sure about this? I've read a couple of articles and the presentation slides and nowhere does it say you need to be on board. You use the ACARS system to inject the code, I think. From the ground.

  6. Scott Hatch

    // The new Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, which lays out 95 core rules on how to conduct a cyber war, may end up being one of the most dangerous books ever written. Reading through the Tallinn Manual, it's possible to come to the conclusion that – under certain circumstances – nations have the right to use “kinetic force” (real-world weapons like bombs or armed drones) to strike back against enemy hackers. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a bunch of hackers in Shanghai are going to be taken out by a Predator Drone strike anytime soon – but it does mean that a nation abiding by international law conventions – such as the United States – would now have the legal cover to deal with enemy hackers in a considerably more muscular way that goes well beyond just jawboning a foreign government.

  7. Jim Lai

    Not to freak anyone out unduly, but smartphones aren' the only potential problem. Even newsstand magazines can be weaponized.
    Quote: You might never look at Zippo lighters, disposable lighters, a drone and tape the same again after watching Booth harvest parts and basically turn them into a bomb. His receiver and transmitter communicated via infrared light for line-of-sight, but Booth said that a Parrott AR.Drone, such as is sold at the airport Brookstone store, is controlled through a smartphone over Wi-Fi. He then discussed other possible weapons that could be built from store purchases beyond airport security checkpoints like a Taser, a tossable fireball and a shiv. Next, Booth gave three “plausible attacks” scenarios that ranged from getting into the cockpit, to causing a fire that was triggered to detonate via smartphone. He ended his presentation with “Have a safe flight home.”

  8. Michael Kelly

    It also means that anytime you have communication between systems without authentication/security – there will probably be an exploit in the future.

  9. Scott Hatch

    This is why I've gone against dumping mechanical overspeed protection on power plant turbines.  EPRI and the DOE have some video of generators being commanded to self-destruct.


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