According to a new report, hundreds of commercial planes are vulnerable to hacking due to their very own airplane WiFi network for passengers. The Government Accountability Office has issued a warning that hackers sitting thousand feet below on the ground can gain access of the onboard system computers using plane’s WiFi entertainment system for passengers. It isn’t an easy task, but the report focused on alarming the Federal Aviation to make itself more advanced.
This warning covers all the planes like the Airbus A350 and A380, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other plans with advanced cockpits. These modern planes have their cockpit communication connected to the airplane WiFi for passengers.
The report said, “Internet connectivity in the cabin should be considered a direct link between the aircraft and the outside world, which includes potential malicious actors.”
Theoretically it is possible for a hacker with just a PC to take control of the flight using airplane WiFi, put some virus into the system, pose a threat to the security and take over the navigation and warning systems. The older aircrafts don’t have the internet connectivity like modern day aircrafts, so planes older than 20 years aren’t at much risk.
If the cabin systems are connected to the cockpit avionics and they are using the same platform for networking, then a user can breach the firewall and damage the cockpit avionics system from the cabin. Thus, this report highlights a real and serious cyber attack threat to the in-flight aircraft.
It’s not clear that this airplane WiFi hacking report is based on real simulations and tests, but this points out a flaw in the system. Any changes in the current aviation systems will take a considerable amount of time, but the security systems must be continuously accessed and revisited to ensure the best possible security standards.
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