US Homeland Security team remotely hacks Boeing 757
US Department of Homeland Security specialists managed to hack into Boeing 757 in 2016, DHS official Robert Hickey disclosed at the Cyber Sat Summit in Tysons Corner, Virginia, on November 8, 2017.
According to the official, the hack was conducted on a 757 aircraft which was on the ground at the airport in Atlantic City.
“We got the airplane on September 19, 2016, two days later I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative penetration,” Robert Hickey, who works as the aviation program manager within the Cyber Security Division of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, said to Defense Daily.
According to Hickey, the experts from DHS were able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft after they accessed the 757's radio frequency communications.
The DHS expert expressed his concern with the absence of maintenance crews that can deal with detecting cyber threats aboard an aircraft carrier. Hickey claimed that even when a vulnerability is found – it may cost a lot to fix avionics subsystems on the planes. According to him, changing one line of code on a piece of avionics equipment is estimated to be worth $1 million and it takes a year to implement.
Robert Hickey also noted that although Boeing 737s and other aircraft, like Boeings 787 and the Airbus A350, have been designed with security in mind, legacy aircraft don't have these protections, although these types of planes make up more than 90% of the commercial aircraft in the sky.
Following the revealed information about the hacking attack on its aircraft, Boeing answered that the company “firmly believes that the test did not identify any cyber vulnerabilities in the 757 or any other Boeing aircraft,” CBS informs.
According to CBS, the DHS hacking test followed an incident in 2015 when a passenger told the FBI he gained control of a plane's engine by hacking into the airline's in-flight entertainment system. Homeland Security informed that its testing was in an “artificial environment and risk reduction measures were already in place.”
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