Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Wed April 22 2015

FBI, TSA Warn Airlines About Wi-Fi Hackers

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | April 22, 2015

FBI, TSA Warn Airlines About Wi-Fi Hackers

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Transportation Security Administration have issued a joint warning to airlines to be wary of potential hackers breaking into their onboard Wi-Fi systems.

Though the government agencies say there have been no instances of someone hacking into an airplane’s Wi-Fi, recent media reports might encourage someone to try.

Wired magazine first reported the existence of the alert sent to airlines.

Just last week, noted hacker Chris Roberts tweeted that he could hack into a United Airlines flight. He did not, but his public comments on social media led authorities to meet him at the gate and confiscate his electronics.

“Although the media claims remain theoretical and unproven, the media publicity associated with these statements may encourage actors to use the described intrusion methods. Attempting to gain unauthorized access to the onboard networks of a commercial aircraft violates federal law,” the alert said.

In response, flight crews have been asked to:

• Report any suspicious activity involving travelers connecting unknown cables or wires to the IFE system or unusual parts of the airplane seat.

• Report any evidence of suspicious behavior following a flight, such as IFE systems that show evidence of tampering or the forced removal of covers to network connection ports.

• Report any evidence of suspicious behavior concerning aviation wireless signals, including social media messages with threatening references to Onboard Network Systems, ADS-B, ACARS, and Air Traffic Control networks.

• Review network logs from aircraft to ensure any suspicious activity, such as network scanning or intrusion attempts, is captured for further analysis.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Treating Customers Special

Car Rental & Rail