Hacking Warning for US Flights WiFi

A federal watchdog agency has warned wireless systems used by passengers on planes in the US could be hacked to access flight controls.

The warnings come as air traffic control is modernised to use satellite technology, and a report by the US Government Accountability Office said it is one of several emerging security threats not being dealt with properly.

GAO investigators discussed the issue with cyber security experts, who said onboard firewalls intended to project avionics from hackers could be breached if flight control and entertainment systems use the same wiring and routers.

An expert told investigators that a "virus or malware" planted on websites visited by passengers could provide an opportunity for a malicious attack.

The expert told a Senate oversight panel: "This threat will continue to evolve and it is something that needs to be at the forefront of our thinking."

Congressman Peter DeFazio said: "FAA must focus on aircraft certification standards that would prevent a terrorist with a laptop in the cabin or on the ground from taking control of an airplane through the passenger Wi-Fi system."

The Department of Transformation said it was committed to strengthening their capabilities to "defend against new and evolving threats with a high degree of urgency".

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