A trained pilot turned technology developer from Germany has demonstrated how a commercial airplane can potentially be ‘hijacked’ using an android app.
Hugo Teso, who works as a security consultant at n.runs AG, demonstrated what he has developed the app to do at a hack event in Amsterdam, according to website Help Net Security.
Teso was apparently able to demonstrate how he can exploit two commonly used but insecure aircraft systems to send flying instructions to planes within range of his smartphone.
The technology, called PlaneSploit, was developed to only work in a virtual environment but shows technically how taking over the controls by smartphone could be done.
Among the commands Teso demonstrated at the HITBSecConf were ones that would make the aircraft change course and another that would make it crash.
The hack only works if the plane is in autopilot mode, so if used in real life and the pilot became aware, simply switching to manual controls would address the problem.
Teso said he developed the technology to expose the lack of security in airliner IT systems and added he had been pleasantly surprised by the reaction of the industry which acknowledges the problem and is keen for him to help them fix it.