Android smartphone used to hack into a plane cockpit

United Airlines

There are reasons in the technology world for each and everything. When people ask you to turn off all your electronics when you are in a plane, there are reasons for that as well. And one of the high level reasons, or probably the only high level reason is that the electronic devices that the passengers would carry will definitely interfere with the inflight management system, and this could be very harmful. There would be a lot of disturbance. But did you know that the effect would be so much that you could be easily hacked into the airplane cockpit system? Well, this has been demonstrated successfully.

The demonstration involved getting into the cockpit system of an airplane using a very simple Android smart phone, and it was that easy. It is said that the system has very weak or almost no security whatsoever to ward off third party entries into the system. This means that anyone with the knowledge of computer programming and networking on a plane with an Android smart phone could easily get into the cockpit’s system and then control it. Actually, the whole cockpit system was hijacked in the demonstration. Uber Phones writes:

At a security conference in Amsterdam, hacker and researcher Hugo Teso showed off to the masses how the humble Android handset could hack into the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Report System (ACARS) without even having to be on the plane, where the ACARS will help control planes’ flight management systems, sporting little or no security at all.

There has to be some other way of actually stopping this from happening. Firewalls should be used in these cockpit computers to not allow any requests from unknown sources. The system needs to have some kind of communication protocol which uses keys, maybe the kind of keys used in SSH communication to let the authority get into it, but not the intruders.

Source: Uber Phones


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  1. Yea they play agry birds, they are not ttying to hack the software. Think about before you criticize like little girly

  2. Bullshit. Having a decade and a half in the aviation industry I call bullshit. Just like the “the sky marshal will arrest your 7 year old for playing on his game boy because it could crash the plane” bullshit. I hold an FAA licence and have been in the cockpit of MD88, 747 of various types etc. Want to know how many pilots shoot video while in the air, of each other coming in on approach, landing, play Angry Birds, etc?? If this was so there would be weekly plane crashes? You must have some gullible readers.

  3. Wouldn’t they be able to override the computer by going to Manuel flight? Plus I thought I herd them say they are going to eliminate the turn copper rule.

  4. Actually, there’s little to no reason to turn electronics off on a plane, but lets keep propagating that myth, mmm’kay?

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