Could this be the deadliest smartphone app ever?
A German security consultant, who’s also a commercial pilot, has demonstrated tools he says could be used to hijack an airplane remotely, using just an Android phone.
Addressing the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam, Hugo Teso said he developed an app for Android called PlaneSploit that could interfere with a plane’s flight management systems.
Teso spent three years developing the code, buying second-hand commercial flight system software and hardware online and finding vulnerabilities within it. His presentation will cause a few sleepless nights among those with an interest in aircraft security.
Using a flight simulator he said he could make the plane “dance to his tune” and demonstrated how he was able to control everything from its air conditioning to its navigational systems.
The app itself appears as an animated cockpit complete with buttons to direct the aircraft to a specific location or send it crashing to the ground.
One function would make lights flash inside the cockpit, giving a terrified pilot the impression that the aircraft’s systems were failing.
The hacking would only work if the aircraft was set to autopilot and could be overrode by a pilot manually retaking control of the plane, Teso said.