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Expert Claims He Developed Attack on Airline Flight Systems

A security researcher claims he could successfully hack aircraft flight-management systems. Hugo Teso, a security researcher for German IT consultancy n.runs, said he sent radio signals with false navigation information to a simulated aircraft that could exploit vulnerabilities in commercial flight-management software and cause the system to change, for example, aircraft direction or the pilot’s displays. He constructed a simulated aircraft from aviation equipment acquired via eBay. Teso used it to test an attack toolkit that subverts the flight management system by using the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Report System protocol, which provides planes with weather and airline-schedule data. He said both the European Aviation and Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration have contacted him about the work. EASA issued a statement in which it states that the research “did not reveal potential vulnerabilities on actual flying systems” and that there are substantial differences between flight-management systems software for training purposes and the systems actually used in flight. Teso said hackers would have trouble taking advantage of the vulnerabilities he discovered, which also would require expertise in aviation. He presented his findings at the recent Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam. (BBC)(Forbes)

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