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Hackers 'can hijack planes using onboard wifi'

ABU DHABI, August 31, 2016

An airplane can be hijacked by anyone using the wi-fi network on-board, a senior airline official has warned.

According to a report in Gulf News, this potential cyber security threat puts more responsibility on airlines and passengers to ensure safe and secure flights.

In the US, for example, two men did a test from their laboratory on the ground and proved that they could hack on to a passenger’s device through the internet connection,” the report said citing Dr Jasem Haji Al Jasem, director of IT at Gulf Air, who spoke at the National Security Middle East conference in the capital on Monday.

A BBC report issued last year gighlighted that a terrorist could theoretically take over systems by compromising on-board equipment. Aircraft, including Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus 350 and A380, have a single network used by both the pilots to fly the plane and by passengers for their Wi-Fi connections.

Dr Al Jasem assured the attendees saying airlines are employing innovation by offering internet and smart gadgets, which always enhance security and safety risks. The top 100 passenger carriers in the world are spending more than 31 per cent of their IT budget for innovative services in a highly competitive market.

According to him, the risks of innovation are applicable to all sectors but aviation deserves special attention. Apart from airlines, passengers have to also act responsibly to minimise risks while using applications of airlines for travel purposes.

“You have to be more careful about spam emails and messages on social media used by hackers. Never respond to suspected messages and reveal information,” he warned.




Tags: Security | WiFi | plane | Hijack | cyber | threat |

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