Android Aircraft Hack Hijacks Controls, Flies Planes Remotely From Ground

An Android aircraft hack can hijack the the controls of commercial aircraft, and fly the planes remotely.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a Google Android antitrust lawsuit is complaining about Google giving away the Android OS for free. Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie will be the next big iteration of the Android operating system. Google is also working on the Google Glass, which will incorporate the Android OS and can be used in all sorts of interesting places.

The Android aircraft hack was created by security researcher Hugo Teso to use a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone to take control of flight and cockpit displays display systems while still standing on the ground. The smartphone’s accelerometer essentially allows a hijacker to fly a commercial aircraft like you would a video game.

Teso says the Android aircraft hack “includes a lot of nasty things.” Teso explains:

“ACARS has no security at all. The airplane has no means to know if the messages it receives are valid or not. “So they accept them and you can use them to upload data to the airplane that triggers these vulnerabilities. And then it’s game over.”

The Android aircraft hack allows anyone “to modify approximately everything related to the navigation of the plane” through data uploaded to a Flight Management System over the unsecured Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), the communication relay used between pilots and ground controllers. The Android aircraft hack also allows eavesdropping using the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) system, a two way positional communications link, and even inject data into the link.

The good news is that potential terrorists could try to recreate this Android aircraft hack but the human pilots could always override the automatic systems. Still, the exploit can also make cockpit displays go haywire or deploy oxygen masks or take out the lights. The best news is that the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Administration are both working on a fix.

What do you think about this Android aircraft hack?