A GOVERNMENT official revealed that he and his team of IT experts remotely hacked into a Boeing 757 as it sat on the runway and were able to take control of its flight functions.
Robert Hickey, a US Homeland Security cyber sleuth, managed to take over the passenger at Atlantic City airport in New Jersey.
Associated Press A Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-232 lands at the Tampa International Airport in Florida in 2014
The plane was hacked in 2016 but Hickey revealed the chilling details during his speech at the CyberSat Summit this week, Avionics reported.
He said: “We got the aeroplane on September 19, 2016.
“Two days later, I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative, penetration.”
Hickey said the details of the hack were classified but they used a combination of radio frequency communications to break in.
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“[Which] means I didn’t have anybody touching the aeroplane, I didn’t have an insider threat.
“I stood off using typical stuff that could get through security and we were able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft,” he added.
Hickey said that following testing, experts advised that “it was no big deal”.
But in March 2017 he was shocked to learn that seven airline pilot captains from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines had no idea that their aircraft could be hacked.
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A Boeing spokesperson said: “The Boeing Company has worked closely for many years with DHS, the FAA, other government agencies, our suppliers and customers to ensure the cybersecurity of our aircraft and will continue to do so.
“Boeing observed the test referenced in the Aviation Today article, and we were briefed on the results. We firmly believe that the test did not identify any cyber vulnerabilities in the 757, or any other Boeing aircraft.”
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Switching the code in avionics equipment could cost up to a £1million and take a year to fix, he added.
Last year it was claimed that hackers could access plane controls while in flight on several major airlines.
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Crooks could allegedly access Emirates, Virgin and Qatar airlines through the Panasonic Avionics in-flight system, according to cybersecurity researchers at IOActive.
Panasonic denied this was possible.