Airliners, Hacks, and Bug Bounties

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By Michela Menting | 2Q 2015 | IN-3608

Hacks on a Plane


One World Labs founder Chris Roberts has been making headlines recently with claims that he has been hacking in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, enabling him to obtain access to the airplane’s networks and possibly even taking momentary control of the thrust management computer. Roberts has been conducting research on aviation security for several years, notably on Boeing and Airbus aircraft, and publishing numerous papers and presenting findings at security conferences.

The news surrounding Roberts comes from several sources, including interviews that he provided himself to the press on his exploits, all of which he claims to have done on simulations. Roberts has also landed himself in trouble by tweeting about conducting these hacks, and most recently, in April 2015 just before boarding a United Airlines flight, Roberts tweeted about tampering with the IFE system, which quickly got him kicked off subsequent flights. The third source comes from the FBI, which has bee...

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