The Android App From Hugo Teso Can Hijack An Aircraft

The plans of hacking a plane now have come to the reality. Hugo Teso, a trained commercial pilot, and security researcher has claimed to develop an app that gives the user the power to control an aircraft from the ground. To the dismay of iPhone, Windows and BlackBerry users, this app cannot be run on any other platform than Android for now. In the year’s Hack In The Box conference held in Amsterdam on Wednesday, he demonstrated the application to a crowd by changing the path of a flying aircraft.

The detail technical working process of this application is a bit complex, but in easy words it can be described as below. Basically, it does nothing with the system of the plane; it meddles with the data sent to the planes from the control room. Teso, being a pilot, has the knowledge that the data sent to the commercial planes from the ground are not secured, and there is no measure to detect the actual source of the data. So, simply by interfering with the data, the user can change the activities of the pilot and confuse him to fly on the wrong direction.

This application can surely modify everything related to the navigation of the aircraft, but this bright example of concept software can work only in a closed virtual environment. So for now, you can be rest assured that it is not immediately going to be available in the App store for download. The other issue as pointed by Gawker is that the software can take control of the autopilot system and can perform all the nasty things, but the pilots can simply make the whole hack useless by switching off the autopilot system.

The demonstration has caught the attention of the companies working on the aircraft navigation system. They have also asked the employer of Teso, N.Runs, a German IT company, to talk about his work in detail. According to the reports of the Guardian, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Aviation Safety Administration are working with Teso to fix this issue. It is to be noted that in the process, Teso has used a common PC version of the actual flight management system, which differs a lot from the certified flight software in matters of security.

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