On Sunday, Chopin Airport’s computer systems in Warsaw, Poland, were the target of a cyber attack. In the wake of the breach, a number of flights were cancelled, others were delayed and about more than a thousand passengers were grounded.
The Polish airline LOT announced this weekend that it had to cancel several flights after a group of hackers infiltrated the computer systems the company used to issue flight plans.
Cyber security experts required five hours to get the systems going, while 1,400 passengers had to wait at the airport to depart to Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and domestic locations.
Experts said that the hack occurred on Sunday afternoon. Adrian Kubicki, spokesperson of LOT airliner, told reporters that hackers had “temporarily paralyzed” the company’s computers at Chopin. So more than a dozen of flights that were under processing were either delayed for more than five hours or abruptly cancelled. The company said that it had to cancel 10 flights.
The airline however was able to transfer some of the passengers to other companies, while it placed that ones that needed to stay overnight in hotels.
According to a company’s statement, the hack that affected its ground operation system was soon contained. However, cyber security experts disclosed that LOT uses “state-of–the-art” computer systems so other airliners may also be in danger.
“Our operating center is already preparing flight plans. We will try to ensure that the largest number of passengers are informed and continue commenced journeys,”
announced the company on June 21.
Authorities said that no other company was affected by the cyber attack, while the safety of both national and international flights was not compromised. The hack is currently under investigation.
Cyber attacks could prove deadly when airliners are involved especially if hackers can hijack the flight control system of a plane. So, in the U.S. cyber threats to airliners are investigated by both the Transportation Security Administration and FBI investigators.
That was the case of Chris Roberts, a cybersecurity expert that made an uninspired joke while on board of a plane. Roberts who owns a cybersecurity firm tried to make authorities aware by the holes in on-board Wi-Fi or media systems which may be easily exploited by cyber terrorists.
So, he tweeted about how he was about to tweak the Engine Indicator Crew Alert System, or EICAS of a 737/800 Boeing into deploying oxygen masks.
Though Boeing later disclosed that the on-board entertainment system was not physically connected to the flight control system, Roberts had to face some though questions from federal investigators shortly after his landing.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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