Hackers could disrupt a passenger jet's navigation system through its Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment systems, according to cybersecurity researcher Ruben Santamarta, who will present his findings this week at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. The hack was discovered by Santamarta in the Madrid laboratory of IOActive, a cybersecurity firm. He claims that it could be used to infiltrate a plane's avionics equipment, which could be used to affect the aircraft's satellite communications systems and its ability to navigate.
It's a terrifying prospect in the wake of several high-profile plane disasters. But how realistic of a scenario is it?
"In theory (or in a lab environment) this could be a possibility but without doing it on a real aircraft it would be hard to justify these claims," Tom Eston, attack and defense team manager at SecureState, told NBC News. Experts shared similar doubts over the theory that hackers took control of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 through its in-flight entertainment system.
- Time, Elements a Challenge in Search for Bodies at MH17 Crash Site
- Tragedy in the Skies: MH17 and Other Crashes in Numbers
- Hacking an Airplane With Only an Android Phone (Bloomberg Businessweek)
-- Keith Wagstaff