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Flight deck computer systems 'hacking' probe

Posted 11 April 2013 · Add Comment

The European Aviation and Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are both reported to be investigating after a hacker claimed he could target flight deck computers.

Hugo Teso, who works as a security consultant at n.runs AG in Germany, made his claim at the fourth annual Hack In The Box (HITB) security conference in Amsterdam.

HITB is a not-for-profit series of security conferences. The main aim is to discuss and share deep knowledge network security information with a focus on ground-breaking attack and defence methods.

Teso, who is also a commercial pilot, has been working on IT security for the last 11 years, specialising in aviation security for the last four.

His presentation was a practical demonstration on how to remotely attack and take full control of an aircraft, exploiting loopholes in the flight management system.

The BBC reported he had built his simulator using spare parts from real jets for sale on the eBay auction site. Teso added that he had spent the past four years investigating the many different computer and data systems found on aircraft, which help them fly and navigate safely.

"I expected them to have security issues but I did not expect them to be so easy to spot," he said. "I thought I would have to fight hard to get into them but it was not that difficult."

According to the BBC report, publicity about the talk has led EASA and the FAA to get in touch seeking more details.

Authorities say actual flight computers are not compromised by Teso’s work but want to find out more.      

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