Skip to comments.Was Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 hacked?
Posted on 03/16/2014 10:39:33 PM PDT by RC one
WASHINGTON -- Evidence is surfacing that system failure in the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may have caused the plane's disappearance and investigators are wondering if foul play may have been involved.
Reports that two key communication and location systems on the Boeing 777 reportedly shutdown sequentially, while the plane continued to fly for hours, has granted credence to the possibility the plane's systems could have been physically sabotaged or electronically compromised.
WTOP has learned that Boeing had been concerned about the possibility the plane's systems could be hacked and had previously contacted the Federal Aviation Administration.
On August 21, 2012, Boeing applied for permission to change the equipment to be installed as part of an onboard data network system upgrade on the 777 series of planes.
According to information listed in the Federal Register the existing "data network and design integration may result in security vulnerabilities from intentional or unintentional corruption of data and systems critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane."
The bottom line, according to language in the Federal Register, "The integrated network configurations in the Boeing Model 777-200, -300, and -300ER series airplanes may enable increased connectivity with external network sources and will have more interconnected networks and systems, such as passenger entertainment and information services than previous airplane models. This may enable the exploitation of network security vulnerabilities and increased risks potentially resulting in unsafe conditions for the airplanes and occupants."
Boeing appeared to worry that USB connection points on the seatbacks in some of the 777 airplanes could be vulnerable, considering the interconnectivity.
There was also concern that unauthorized access to the plane in the maintenance stage could cause damage.
In November 2013, special conditions were approved allowing Boeing to make changes on the 777 planes.
The plausibility of hacking into an airplane while in flight was presented as a reality in April 2013, by Spanish researcher Hugo Teso at a presentation during at the Hack-In-The-Box security summit in Amsterdam.
Teso ostensibly proved that using an Android smartphone and specific code, he could take control of aircraft flight and communication.
He claimed he could use his "attack code" called SIMON and an Android application called PlaneSploit to take full control of not only the systems on board the plane, but the pilot's display.
The FAA quickly responded saying it was not possible to fully take control of an aircraft, as had been alleged.
At the time, Teso outlined what he called vulnerabilities in the Automated Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) systems, saying of the aviation industry in general, they are not ready to face this kind of attack.
ADB-S and ACAR are among systems on the plane that authorities have acknowledged were possibly compromised in some way.
As investigators have worked their way through the broad range of theories regarding what happened to Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian authorities are looking closely at sabotage as a possible cause.
A couple questions for anyone who might know:
1. Can the ACARS system be shut off from within the cockpit? Or does someone have to physically leave(be outside) the cockpit in order to deactivate it?
2. Once the ACARS system is turned off, can it be seen as turned off from within the cockpit? In other words, is there a display in the cockpit that shows whether or not the ACARS system is active or not?
9M-MRO was a 200ER, which is not listed.
So the paper does not apply in this case.
In the cockpit you can turn off the VHF, HF, and SATCOM links that ACARS uses to send data.
Effectively, that stops the reports.
Why would Boeing put USB ports on the backs of passenger seats that could interconnect to the Flight systems?
That is insane.
Is putting a 5 pound server on the plane going to cost them that much per year in fuel that they cant justify the cost?
Why do customers need USB ports anyway other than charging their phones? WiFi seems like a better idea anyway. But of course keep your flight systems off the WiFi network.
But the VHF or HF is needed for verbal communication with the ATC tower, is that correct?
You tell the ACARS system not to use them.
That would be more accurate.
What I’m hung up on is that the ACARS system was turned off while still over land in Malaysia, before the pilot(copilot or hijacker) acknowledged ATC verbally before entering Vietnamese airspace.
Some basic information that I would find helpful, would be if they would allow some friends of the pilot and copilot to listen to the acknowledgment to ATC, in order to potentially confirm who was at the controls at that time.
I believe I read somewhere that it was the pilot, but I can’t find where I read that, so take it with a grain of salt.
If they have been hacked then the days of commercial aviation are over.
Effectively, that stops the reports."
Amazing that this can be done in a post 9/11 world.
I must be made head of world wide aviation.
simple child like capabiklity to prevent the tracking of aircraft, so it never happens again.
What I have read is that this was possibly intended to buy time...because they were in between air spaces, apparently, before things got more suspicious. Some aviation forums I was reading the other night...
IF....if indeed terrorist no matter their origin can hack any modern jet was possible I honestly believe it will first off be an all out campaign to knock the rumor down, at any cost, even if it means pulling the plug on the internet. NSA, CIA, any of the agencies will NOT want that rumor to expand.
Seriously, if the public became aware it was even possible there would be a mass panic of flyers, people would refuse to fly unless in a Cessna 150.
Lets assume for a moment it could happen, think of the repercussions to the airline industry, also think of this event as being a “trial run” successful or not, if it was then its already successful.
This all out terrorism, creating fear, fear of attacking Moslems worldwide, because now they have the means and ways to indiscriminately just yank a plane out of the sky, kill all or most on board and then crash it, without even being aboard.
I was a USAF air traffic controller for 20 years. Towers only control the airport, to about 10 miles. Beyond that, to about 40 to 50 miles, the terminal radar control facility (TRACON, USAF-RAPCON) controls the aircraft. Beyond that, enroute facilities take over. VHF/UHF radios are used. In the past, I believe HF was used over water, but I would suspect that is a thing of the past, with today's sophisticated communications capabilities. Aircraft do not communicate with towers, except within the airport traffic area (10 or so miles) I hope that helps a little.
What about all the passenger’s cell phones? So many questions.
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