Published on Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Boeing 757 aircraft remotely hacked in US Homeland Security test

A US Homeland Security team managed to remotely hack a Boeing 757 aircraft without the airline or pilots knowing.

In a 'controlled experiment' a team of experts working with the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) undertook a controlled hacking of the jet at Atlantic City a year ago.

Robert Hickey, aviation programme manager at the DHS Cyber Security Division revealed it exploited the plane's wireless communications to access its internal network.

It came to light during Hickey's keynote speech at the CyberSat Summit last week, saying it took the team just two days to develop a strategy for the hack.

"We got the airplane on September 19, 2016. Two days later, I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative penetration," he said.

"Which means I didn't have anybody touching the airplane.  

"I didn't have an insider threat. I stood off using typical stuff that could get through security and we were able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft."

Exactly how it was carried out remains classified.

The Boeing 757 is no longer in production but is still widely used by US airlines.

Hickey notes newer models like the Boeing 737 MAX or Airbus's new A350 have stronger internal security systems.

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  • One does wonder...

    Whether modern aircraft have an emergency manual overide for essential controls. Apart from hacking, what would happen if there were a complete power outage?

    By Richard English, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

  • A bit scary

    A bit scary when you consider some of the cleverest tecky people are the villains. The new aircraft may have stronger security but that won't delay the bad guys for very long. I also take issue with the daft-speak - "able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft." = they hacked in. "I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative penetration," even he had to explain that one - "Which means I didn't have anybody touching the airplane". These people watch too many spy movies. When he talked of "non-cooperative penetration" I thought he'd hacked into my sex life!!

    By Keith Standen, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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