Tags: War on Terrorism | Wi-Fi | cyberthreat | airplanes | cockpit | controls | FBI

Report: Law Enforcement Downplaying Cyberthreats on Airplanes

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 06:15 PM

The FBI is reportedly downplaying the vulnerable position airplanes are in through their Wi-Fi networks, after a commercial airliner was recently compromised by a hacker.

While the FBI is investigating Chris Roberts,
the hacker who claims he was able to assume an aircraft's controls through the plane's Wi-Fi network on a recent United Airlines flight, a senior law enforcement official is downplaying the risk that airplanes are in via their in-flight entertainment systems, The Washington Free Beacon is reporting.

"While we will not comment on specific allegations, there is no credible information to suggest an airplane’s flight control system can be accessed or manipulated from its in-flight entertainment system," a senior law enforcement official told the Free Beacon.

"Nevertheless, attempting to tamper with the flight control systems of aircraft is illegal and any such attempts will be taken seriously by law enforcement," he added.

Cyberexperts have recently warned of the vulnerability of airplanes through their Wi-Fi networks as well as a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), CNN reported in April.

"A well trained martyr could hack into the plane’s computer system, take over all or part of the controls, commandeering its communication, or air system to shut down, etc.," wrote Rachel Ehrenfeld, founder and CEO of the American Center for Democracy and the Economic Warfare Institute in December 2014.

Ehrenfeld told the Free Beacon that commercial airlines and U.S. law enforcement agencies need to do more to prevent such vulnerabilities inherent in the Wi-Fi network, which often is on the same network that is used by cockpit controls.

"Downplaying [the threat] is not very smart. American air carriers are understandably trying to save money. But it shouldn’t come on the expense of passengers' safety," she said.

"Moreover, security should govern air travel. Removing the threat of hacking into the cockpit is a priority," she added.

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The FBI is reportedly downplaying the vulnerable position airplanes are in through their Wi-Fi networks, after a commercial airliner was recently compromised by a hacker.
Wi-Fi, cyberthreat, airplanes, cockpit, controls, FBI, downplay
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2015-15-18
Monday, 18 May 2015 06:15 PM
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