(NEWSER) – The FBI’s new best friend is Chris Roberts, a man variously described as a computer security expert and hacker, who made headlines last month after United Airlines booted him from a flight over a tweet. Roberts, the founder of One World Labs, has been interviewed by the FBI at least three times this year, and as APTN News reports, during one of those conversations in February, told an agent that he’d briefly hacked control of an airplane via its in-flight entertainment. Per the FBI search warrant application, via Wired: “He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights. He also stated that he used Vortex software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”
Roberts’ alleged method is disturbingly simple: Vulnerable planes had Seat Electronic Boxes, installed under seats two to a row. Roberts removed the cover, and as Wired puts it: “attached a Cat6 ethernet cable, with a modified connector, to the box and to his laptop and then used default IDs and passwords to gain access.” Once there, he was able to access other systems. Roberts further told agents that he’d accessed in-flight networks on various flights about 15 times and that he was able “to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.” He identified Boeing 737-800s, 737-900s, and 757-200s, and Airbus A-320s as vulnerable. Roberts tells Wired: “I’m obviously concerned those (conversations) were held behind closed doors and apparently they’re no longer behind closed doors.”
I seriously might never get on a plane ever again. Today half my family is flying to Thailand for a fucking wedding and when they asked if i was going i pretty much said No and said my last goodbyes. Asia has had more issues with plans in the past year than we’ve ever had and you still want to go there? Fine, put me in your will and you have my blessings to go all you want. Bet they’re thinking “those are just rogue kamikaze pilots that crashed the plane by locking everyone out of the cock pits, Ill keep an eye on the doors, we’ll be fine”. Nope. this mother fucker fiddled around under his seat for a few minutes and then hacked that shit as easy as it is to hook up a N64 pretty much. And we’re not just talking observing flight controls and reading system gauges or whatever. He made that shit go side ways. Guy probably could fuck around and ditch all our cargo mid flight if he wanted. And you know whats sick is the default ID and password he used to hack in, im willing to bet was just “User ID: Admin” and “Password: Password” Boom. You’ve been hacked, and now you’re all screaming to your deaths sideways.