App attack? Developer says his software can hijack a cockpit during flight

Posted at 6:42 PM, Apr 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-11 18:53:26-04

(NEW YORK CITY) – Can something as simple as a phone app execute the complex task of hijacking a commercial airliner?

Hugo Teso says that he can already do it in a flight simulator.

The German digital wizard stunned the cyber security world at the “Hack in the Box” summit in Amsterdam by demonstrating an application he created called “PlaneSploit” that works with Android phones.  Teso reportedly developed software called “Simon” over the course of three years that allows the user to exploit security gaps in the avionics system and instruct the plane to adjust altitude, speed and direction as well as turn off pilot display screens and lights in the cockpit.


Representative Peter King, Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman for Homeland Security, told PIX 11 News exclusively that, “There is no legitimate or plausible use for this application. I am currently drafting legislation to prevent its use.”

Dr. Justin Cappos a faculty member specializing in computer engineering at NYU-Poly says it’s possible. In a call from his travels in Japan he informed PIX 11 News that there are a “huge number of vulnerabilities, because its hard to play defense.”

Dan Rose is a former fighter pilot turned aviation lawyer. He has logged more than 2000 hours in the cockpit over a span of 25 years. Initially he was shocked, but it’s also a disturbing sign of the digital times, “You know when you read about it and think about the society we live in, it really isn’t that surprising, like I said it needs to be addressed.”