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Plane passengers' safety IN DANGER: Terrorists may hack on board Wi-Fi

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Hackers may have access to plane controls through airline Wi-Fi.

An alarming report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) explains that terrorists can now threaten plane passengers' safety with access to the plane's on board Wi-Fi. Although the reports doesn't specify whether this is going to be an easy thing for terrorists to do, there is a possibility that hackers can now have accessibility to controls by taking over flight systems through the use of Internet and Wi-Fi on board, as this is provided by most airlines.

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Highlights

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
4/16/2015 (6 years ago)

Published in Travel

Keywords: Airplane, plane crash, wi-fi, hacker, air control, danger

MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Just last March, the GAO also reported that the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) system used for guiding aircraft and other planes, is also at risk of being hacked.

The "attackers" now see a vulnerability they can exploit in the modernization of planes and flight tracking with Internet-based technology by the airlines and the FAA. According to Oregon Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Rep. Peter DeFazio, the FAA should work fast to fix this problem.

DeFazio added that, it would be more terrible if the terrorist would be on-board as a flight passenger, with a laptop, and taking over the airplane system controls using the on-board Wi-Fi. Airlines are also simply relying on the firewalls to create barriers. Unfortunately, even these firewalls can be hacked, since they are also software.
 
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The system used by passengers to work or watch movies on their laptops isn't connected to the avionics in the cockpit, which operate as a self-contained unit. Still, it is not uncommon to share routers or internal wiring with the use of Wi-Fi systems.

Cybersecurity experts also claimed that the aircraft and the outside world would be connected through the Internet connectivity in the cabin, which could be the direct link for potential hackers.

The FAA has been working with the government security experts and the National Security Agency to investigate and check the necessary changes that need to be made, in relevance to GAO's reports. It was said that the hackers might be able to detect and prevent unauthorized access to a huge network of communication and computer systems that the FAA utilizes to track flights worldwide.

Investigators have been told by a cybersecurity expert that websites visited by the plane passengers may have virus or malware planted on them that could start off a malicious airline attack. According to FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, this oncoming threat of terrorism will continue to evolve and its prevention should be the top security priority.

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