Hack­ers ground 1,400 pas­sen­gers in at­tack on Pol­ish air­line LOT

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

A cy­ber­at­tack against Pol­ish flag­ship car­rier LOT grounded more than 1,400 pas­sen­gers at War­saw’s Fred­eric Chopin Air­port on Sun­day in what an air­line spokesman de­scribed as the “first at­tack of its kind.”

The at­tack oc­curred at around 4:00 p.m. ( 1500 GMT), and tar­geted the air­line’s ground oper­a­tions sys­tem, the car­rier said in a state­ment.

The in­ci­dent, which led to the can­cel­la­tion of 10 flights de­part­ing from War­saw, was re­solved by 9:00 p.m.

“This is the first at­tack of its kind,” LOT spokesman Adrian Ku­bicki told TVN 24 tele­vi­sion.

The air­line said in a state­ment on its web­site that the “IT at­tack” meant it was un­able to cre­ate flight plans and flights were not able to de­part from War­saw.

Poland’s se­cu­rity agen­cies were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the at­tack.

Con­cerns around avi­a­tion and hack­ing are on the rise, com­pounded by a new wave of air­lin­ers con­nected to the In­ter­net which have prompted fears that cy­bert­er­ror­ists could take con­trol of planes re­motely.

In De­cem­ber last year the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion said cy­ber­crime was a se­ri­ous threat to safety in the skies, vow­ing to set up a “se­cu­rity cul­ture” pro­tect­ing trav­el­ers against any cat­a­strophic in­ci­dent.

A U.S. re­port in April warned that hack­ers could ex­ploit in­flight en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems to fa­tally sabotage cock­pit elec­tron­ics.

The re­port by an in­ves­tiga­tive arm of the U.S. Congress came just weeks af­ter a co-pi­lot crashed his Ger­man­wings A320 into the French Alps, killing all 150 on board, and prompt­ing talk of air­lin­ers one day be­ing 100 per­cent au­to­mated.

In May a se­cu­rity re­searcher claimed he had hacked the con­trols of a United Air­lines jet­liner from its en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem.

The FBI is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the claim by Chris Roberts of One World Labs that he briefly took con­trol of a United air­craft from his pas­sen­ger seat by hack­ing into the in-flight en­ter­tain­ment net­work.

United cast doubt on the claims, with its CEO telling a U.S. Se­nate hear­ing that there were “clear fire­walls” be­tween the sys­tems, but ad­mit­ting that the mat­ter was “of great con­cern to us” and that the air­line was co­op­er­at­ing with the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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