Aviation manager for the cybersecurity arm of the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, Robert Hickey has reportedly said that the DHS team accessed the aircraft’s systems via radio frequency communications.
A Boeing 757 aircraft was reportedly remotely hacked without the knowledge of the pilots. The hack was done by a team of cybersecurity experts who were led by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
It has been reported that it took the DHS team to full two days to gain control of the aircraft controls and system. The team was comprised of a number of industry experts and academics. The hack was part of a test which was carried out last year at an airport in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The aircraft, a Boeing 757 was allegedly acquired by the DHS last year in September. The National press has since reported that the US President Donald Trump’s personal jet and the aircraft frequently used by Vice President Mike Pence are both Boeing 757’s.
Aviation manager for the cybersecurity arm of the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, Robert Hickey has reportedly said that the DHS team accessed the aircraft’s systems via radio frequency communications. He was talking at the CyberSat Summit in Virginia last week. He also said that given that the test was reportedly classified he could not disclose details of the hack.
Hickey also told those attending the summit that he did not have anyone touching the airplane. He assured participants that he also did not have an insider threat. He stated that he simply used “typical stuff” which could be taken through security. Hickey added that using the basic items his team was able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft.
He also told local media that artificial environments and risk reductions measures were firmly in place during the classified test conducted by the DHS. The team believed that the test did not identify any cyber vulnerabilities. This was confirmed in a statement to the local press.
The statement further read that neither in the 757 nor in any other Boeing aircraft could be identified for vulnerabilities. Speaking to the media, an official from Boeing said that the test did not indicate any major threats to the airline. He added that the hack involved the use of specific attack methods. These would only work on the older aircrafts with older systems.
He added that while he did not discredit the value of the test, he would not be afraid to fly in the future. The crucial test by the DHS followed a 2015 attempt to hack the in-flight systems of an aircraft. At the time hacker, Chris Roberts, admitted to attempting to gain access to the commercial aircraft nearly 20 times while they were in-flight. Roberts was since arrested by the FBI.