Tags: chris roberts | hacker | plane | united | controls | fbi

Chris Roberts: Hacker Told FBI He Accessed Airplane's Flight Controls

Image: Chris Roberts: Hacker Told FBI He Accessed Airplane's Flight Controls
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By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 11:13 AM

Computer hacker Chris Roberts, who was banned from a United flight last month after claiming he hacked the plane’s entertainment system, may have actually taken control of the plane's flight system.

According to Wired magazine, an FBI agent filed an application for a search warrant after Roberts' initial questioning, and that recently obtained application revealed that Roberts then-claimed to have hacked the whole plane.

"He stated that he successfully commanded the system he had accessed to issue the 'CLB' or climb command. 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 the application.

"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."

The FBI's investigation began on April 15, after Roberts jokingly suggested on Twitter that he could get the oxygen masks on his flight to deploy. Upon landing, he was detained by two FBI agents and two local police officers, and interrogated for several hours. The also seized his two laptop computers, several hard drives, and USB sticks. They told him they didn't have a warrant for the seizure, but said a warrant was pending.

Roberts reportedly told the FBI that he had discovered vulnerabilities in the systems of Boeing 737-800, 737-900, and 757-200 aircraft, as well as Airbus A-320s, CBS News reported.

Roberts also told both Wired and the FBI that he's accessed the "in-flight networks about 15 times during various flights but had not done anything beyond explore the networks and observe data traffic crossing them."

"Over last five years my only interest has been to improve aircraft security . . . given the current situation I've been advised against saying much," Roberts said in a recent tweet.

Roberts is employed by Denver’s One World Labs, a security intelligence firm.



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Computer hacker Chris Roberts, who was banned from a United flight last month after claiming he hacked the plane’s entertainment system, may have actually taken control of the plane's flight system.
chris roberts, hacker, plane, united, controls, fbi
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2015-13-18
Monday, 18 May 2015 11:13 AM
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