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US techie hacks plane, makes it fly sideways

Posted in World


Published on May 22, 2015 with No Comments

In a shocking incident in the US, a computer security expert hacked into a plane’s in-flight entertainment system and made the jet briefly fly sideways by ordering one of the engines to go into climb mode.
Chris Roberts of ‘One World Labs’ in Denver was flying on the plane at the time it turned sideways, according to an FBI search warrant. Roberts told the FBI that he had hacked into planes “15 to 20 times,” according to court documents first made public last week.
Roberts first made news in April when he was told he could not fly on United Airlines because of tweets he had made about whether he could hack into the flight’s on-board computer settings. The FBI search warrant describes him doing just that.
According to the document, in an interview on February 13, 2015, Roberts told agents he had hacked into in-flight entertainment (IFE) centres on Boeing 737s, 757s and Airbus A-320 aircraft “15 to 20 times.”
Roberts is a well-known and respected expert on computer security. He told the FBI he was furnishing the information “because he would like the vulnerabilities fixed.”
FBI agents had told Roberts that accessing an airplane network without authorisation was a violation of federal statues. Roberts told them he understood and that he would not hack into any more airplanes, according to the document.
On April 15, Roberts flew United from Denver to Chicago. On the flight, he tweeted about the possibility of accessing the plane’s IFE system. When he arrived, FBI agents took him into custody and seized as digital evidence his computer, hard drives and other gear he had with him.


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