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Hacker on packed passenger jet took control of plane and made it fly sideways using laptop

A HACKER is at the centre of an FBI probe after he took control of a plane from his passenger seat by using the in-flight entertainment system – and made it fly sideways.

Chris Roberts, founder of the cyber security firm One World Labs, says he managed to crack the plane’s computer systems through the electronics box under his seat.

Mr Roberts made the shocking claim in an interview with the FBI.

If true the discovery opens up a whole new raft of terrifying possibilites for would-be terrorists.

FBI Agent Mike Hurley said: “He stated that he caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights.

“He also stated that he used software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks.

“He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”

The cyber security expert exploited security weaknesses to override the pilots by connecting a cable his laptop and cracking into the default passwords to access the plane’s systems.

According to an FBI affidavit, Mr Roberts hacked the entertainment systems on US flights more than a dozen times between 2011 and 2014.

But Mr Roberts, who is often described as one of the world’s leading experts on cyber security, has defended his actions saying he was trying to make air travel safer.

He recently tweeted: “Over last 5 years my only interest has been to improve aircraft security…given the current situation I’ve been advised against saying much.”

Mr Roberts is said to have gained access to fly by using the Seat Electronic Box, which is installed under passenger seats on some planes.

He removed the cover of the box by “wiggling and squeezing” it off and connecting it to his laptop with an Ethernet cable.

The cyber security expert then used default passwords to access the in-flight entertainment system.


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