With ISIS lone wolf attacks and 9/11 in mind, the Department of Homeland Security has been trying for themselves to see if US electronics systems could be taken over by terrorists. This week on the checklist was, could terrorists hack into a Boeing 757?
Unfortunately, the answer to that came back positive when a Department of Homeland Security official admitted that the agency had indeed been able to remotely hack into the airplane.
Without any direct contact with the aircraft controllers or usage of any materials that could be flagged by security at airports, an amateur team especially selected by the Department of Homeland Security was able to hack into the Boeing. New technology gives pilots of course more information and makes communication with airport towers easier, it is also a double-edged sword as it means that airplanes are because of this increased connectivity more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The Department of Homeland Security admitted it remotely hacked into a Boeing 757 through its radio communication system from an airport in Atlantic City, New Jersey, while the airplane was parked.
No systems were touched afterwards but of course Mr Robert Hickey, the head of Cyber Security Division as the Department of Homeland Security said his team had “accomplished a remote, non-cooperative penetration,” something which could mean that many US passenger jets can also be cracked in this way by anyone having bad intentions.
A spokesman for the US carrier company that the plane belonged to (which will remain anonymous for security reasons), stated: "We witnessed the test and can say unequivocally that there was no hack of the airplane’s flight control systems."
Though the 757 is a 1970s design, there are still hundreds airborne and being flown by American carriers (nine are even operated by the US air force for usage by diplomats.)
President Donald Trump’s private plane which he used during the campaign is also a Boeing 757.