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Thread: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    Consumer Reports in the latest issue just did a full review of connected appliances - from TV's, coffee makers, thermostats, door locks, baby monitors, personal training watches, wifi-enabled cars, etc. It's scary on multiple levels - first that what you do with these devices (the actual information it collects whether you know it collects it or not) is not yours to control but the company (be it 3rd party or not) that collects, collates and data mines it for marketing, or sells it to the highest bidder. When your home, what your habits are, what you watch, when you watch it. Over a relatively short period of time they know your schedule, who's home, what you do, where you go... all of it. Lastly, that information may or may not be secure and could be hacked and sold to other countries, to criminals, to political groups... anything or anyone with the money. Is it convenient that the wifi car can contact your thermostat on the way home and tell it to raise the temperature from 62 degrees to 70 degrees? Sure. Is it convenient that your can control your crock pot temperature from work? Look in on the baby through a wifi enabled baby monitor? How about unlock the front door for the kids because their phone battery died or lost the key?

    Is it possible to hack cars? Sure. Airplaines? Sure. If there's a way to get to the computer either directly or indirectly, which is in some way connected to systems which control environmental or operations of the vehicle there's a way to hack it. If not control it, just to shut it off or turn it on. Imagine the jet engines at 38,000 feet just shut off and nothing the pilot can do to turn them back on.
    I'm not convinced the engines actually have any mechanism for accepting such a command from outside the cockpit. Merely having a wire connecting two computers does not make one able to necessarily take control over the other.

    Even with a computer going haywire, the engines have backup manual operations the pilot can switch to.
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  2. #12
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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    I'm not convinced the engines actually have any mechanism for accepting such a command from outside the cockpit. Merely having a wire connecting two computers does not make one able to necessarily take control over the other.

    Even with a computer going haywire, the engines have backup manual operations the pilot can switch to.
    You may be right - but it doesn't have to be the engines themselves, it could be a command to dump the fuel, or shut the fuel pump off. What I think this self proclaimed hacker is doing is telling airlines to make sure the computer systems are autonomous and separate from each other - do not connect or allow a single system to run both the entertainment systems and operations of the plane. Certainly never allow anything outside (wifi or wired) to interact with the planes software and do not put access ports anywhere in the plane other than the cockpit. I don't know if this guy actually did what he says he did but I've seen things hacked I would never have guessed could be hacked - and once a system is understood it doesn't take much. Even if operationally a system cannot be controlled - it can be overloaded and shut down.
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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by upsideguy View Post
    ... I think what he did is spooked the uneducated.

    He is FoS. You can not get at the flight controls via the entertainment system. You can, however, entertain news people and by extension, posters on DP.
    Yeah, I'd have to agree. I'd have to imagine that the flight control systems are completely physically separated from the entertainment system on board. I can't imagine an aeronautical engineer designing any sort of connection or crossover.

    Show me the flight data recorder data of the flight where he performing this hacking.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    I think that if electronics can be accessed onboard electronically, (for lack of a better description) then they can be hacked. Your car...your home computer...American Flight Whatever. Just makes sense to me.
    Maggie, even the car companies are ensuring that those two systems aren't connected, because if an entertainment system is hacked, it's an inconvenience. Not so if a control system is hacked.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinKohler View Post
    I doubt there is a link between the engines and the entertainment system.

    Engines are hardwired on a closed loop. Why would we make WiFi jet engines on planes with cockpits?
    I've been told that an airline engines can 'phone home' to the manufacturer with diagnostics of which parts need to be replaced, so that they can have those parts at the airport from the local in country parts depot so the technicians can install it when the airplane lands. So, yes, the engines and control systems can send data, whether that outbound traffic can be used to gain access and control of the control system, I highly doubt it. Can you imagine the liabilities of that?
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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by eohrnberger View Post
    Yeah, I'd have to agree. I'd have to imagine that the flight control systems are completely physically separated from the entertainment system on board. I can't imagine an aeronautical engineer designing any sort of connection or crossover.

    Show me the flight data recorder data of the flight where he performing this hacking.



    Maggie, even the car companies are ensuring that those two systems aren't connected, because if an entertainment system is hacked, it's an inconvenience. Not so if a control system is hacked.



    I've been told that an airline engines can 'phone home' to the manufacturer with diagnostics of which parts need to be replaced, so that they can have those parts at the airport from the local in country parts depot so the technicians can install it when the airplane lands. So, yes, the engines and control systems can send data, whether that outbound traffic can be used to gain access and control of the control system, I highly doubt it. Can you imagine the liabilities of that?
    Well, my new Lexus has ENFORM. I can lock my car doors and start my engine from my phone plus check status of certain things. I've learned in life never to say never, so I don't trust it's infallibility. I hope you're right, though.


    Thank you, Quazi!

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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Well, my new Lexus has ENFORM. I can lock my car doors and start my engine from my phone plus check status of certain things. I've learned in life never to say never, so I don't trust it's infallibility. I hope you're right, though.
    Because it is designed to do that. You can do those cool things because Lexus engineers intended that you do those cool things. However, to effect this system, your car is connected to the Internet. Accordingly, other people can, in theory, hack the security of that system and thus do the same cool things you can do, because that is the design.

    This is entirely different than what is being discussed here: the idea that you can go into the entertainment system of an airliner and access the flight controls. There is no way that Airbus and Boeing interconnected the entertainment systems with the flight controls. This is as preposterous suggesting someone can hack your cable TV via your plumbing. Better yet, it is a myth of similar proportion to the Hollywood notion that if you give a computer something that it cannot compute that it explodes into flames.
    Last edited by upsideguy; 05-18-15 at 09:28 PM.

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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    R
    Quote Originally Posted by upsideguy View Post
    Because it is designed to do that. You can do those cool things because Lexus engineers intended that you do those cool things. However, to effect this system, your car is connected to the Internet. Accordingly, other people can, in theory, hack the security of that system and thus do the same cool things you can do, because that is the design.

    This is entirely different than what is being discussed here: the idea that you can go into the entertainment system of an airliner and access the flight controls. There is no way that Airbus and Boeing interconnected the entertainment systems with the flight controls. This is as preposterous suggesting someone can hack your cable TV via your plumbing. Better yet, it is a myth of similar proportion to the Hollywood notion that if you give a computer something that it cannot compute that it explodes into flames.
    I didn't understand he was claiming that. Thank you for setting me straight. Makes perfect sense.


    Thank you, Quazi!

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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by upsideguy View Post
    ... I think what he did is spooked the uneducated.

    He is FoS. You can not get at the flight controls via the entertainment system. You can, however, entertain news people and by extension, posters on DP.
    This is the place where people argue that you can hack SD servers by knowing e-mail accounts. So you're on point.
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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by Ockham View Post
    You may be right - but it doesn't have to be the engines themselves, it could be a command to dump the fuel, or shut the fuel pump off. What I think this self proclaimed hacker is doing is telling airlines to make sure the computer systems are autonomous and separate from each other - do not connect or allow a single system to run both the entertainment systems and operations of the plane. Certainly never allow anything outside (wifi or wired) to interact with the planes software and do not put access ports anywhere in the plane other than the cockpit. I don't know if this guy actually did what he says he did but I've seen things hacked I would never have guessed could be hacked - and once a system is understood it doesn't take much. Even if operationally a system cannot be controlled - it can be overloaded and shut down.
    Yeah, and I don't think the same system DOES run the entertainment system and the flight controls. No avionics system I am familiar with does this and I really can't conceive of any reason an engineer would design it that way. There isn't any advantage to having an autopilot hook up to wifi.
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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Well, my new Lexus has ENFORM. I can lock my car doors and start my engine from my phone plus check status of certain things. I've learned in life never to say never, so I don't trust it's infallibility. I hope you're right, though.
    Right. But with Lexus ENFORM, you can't reprogram the engine computer. I hope I'm right too.
    It's a global Jihad, stupid. Allowing that poison into the country is only going to increase the damage it inflicts on others.
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    Re: FBI: Hacker claimed to have taken over flight's engine controls

    Quote Originally Posted by upsideguy View Post
    Because it is designed to do that. You can do those cool things because Lexus engineers intended that you do those cool things. However, to effect this system, your car is connected to the Internet. Accordingly, other people can, in theory, hack the security of that system and thus do the same cool things you can do, because that is the design.

    This is entirely different than what is being discussed here: the idea that you can go into the entertainment system of an airliner and access the flight controls. There is no way that Airbus and Boeing interconnected the entertainment systems with the flight controls. This is as preposterous suggesting someone can hack your cable TV via your plumbing. Better yet, it is a myth of similar proportion to the Hollywood notion that if you give a computer something that it cannot compute that it explodes into flames.
    Yup, aside from the silly hacker angle connecting entertainment system to the flight controls would mean that a problem with one could affect the other and no way they would ever do that.
    My guess is this guy is just a wannabe
    hacker.jpg
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