Image for representational purposes only.
A search warrant issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that cybersecurity professional Chris Roberts told an agent he was able to control an airplane engine from his seat by gaining access to the computer system.
According to BBC News, the document asserts that Roberts, of One World Labs, was able to make the plane “climb” and “move sideways” with his laptop while seated. Roberts tweeted the following ahead of the flight:
IFE stands for “In Flight Entertainment.”
Wired Magazine gives the details of what happened after Roberts took a United flight from Chicago to Syracuse last month:
The Feds were waiting when Roberts landed in Syracuse. As passengers stood in the aisle to deplane, a flight attendant instructed everyone to take their seats. Two Syracuse police officers and two FBI agents boarded the plane. Before they even looked at him, Roberts knew they were after him. ‘Shall I get my luggage?,’ he asked.
He spent the next four hours in an airport conference room on the business end of an interrogation. Before he left, agents seized his company-issued laptop, backup disks and other electronics without a warrant.
When Roberts attempted to board another United flight to San Francisco days later, he was barred by the airline and had to book a flight with Southwest.
Roberts is now being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The FBI noted that Roberts “exploited” IFEs in airplanes between 2011 and 2014.
Wired Magazine noted that due to the incident, both the FBI and the TSA have issued warnings to passengers:
- Report any suspicious activity involving travelers connecting unknown cables or wires to the IFE system or unusual parts of the airplane seat.
- Report any evidence of suspicious behavior following a flight, such as IFE systems that show evidence of tampering or the forced removal of covers to network connection ports.
- Report any evidence of suspicious behavior concerning aviation wireless signals, including social media messages with threatening references to Onboard Network Systems, ADS-B, ACARS, and Air Traffic Control networks.
- Review network logs from aircraft to ensure any suspicious activity, such as network scanning or intrusion attempts, is captured for further analysis.
“Over the last 5 years my only interest has been to improve aircraft security…given the current situation I’ve been advised against saying much,” Roberts tweeted Saturday.
Still, Roberts has a sense of humor about the incident, retweeting the following photos:
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth