Security expert says he hacked into plane’s engine
A computer security expert admitted to the FBI that he was able to take control of an airplane's engines according to court documents.
NBC News reports Chris Roberts, the CTO and founder of One World Labs, was on board an unidentified flight when he gained access to the the thrust management system via the plane's entertainment system.
According to court documents, Roberts was able to give a climb command (CLB) to the engine. "He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights," FBI Special Agent Mark Hurley wrote on a warrant application.
The FBI became aware of Roberts' actions when he tweeted about hacking computers on board a United Airlines flight from Denver to Syracuse, New York according to ABC News and met the plane when it landed. The documents indicate Roberts hacked into the system and made his actions known "because he would like the vulnerabilities fixed."
A senior law enforcement official, however, told USA Today that they doubt anyone can hack a flight's computer through the entertainment system. "Nevertheless, attempting to tamper with the flight control systems of aircraft is illegal and any such attempts will be taken seriously by law enforcement," said the official.
Roberts tweeted that he "has been advised against saying much" about the incident.