Chris Roberts, a Security researcher has admitted to the FBI that he hacked entertainment systems in more than a dozen flights, and in one instance he hacked into the management computer and briefly altered its course.
FBI says that Chris caused the aircraft to climb which resulted in lateral or sideways movement of the flight. The FBI wrote these in a warrant application in April, which was obtained by Wired.
The FBI seized Robert’s laptop and was escorted off from the United Airlines plane, after he posted a tweet claiming that he could hack the flight system to drop oxygen masks.
Roberts also claimed that he compromised about 15-24 flights saying he would examine the electronics box under the passenger seats, and connects his laptop to the ethernet cable. He would also lookout for security flaws and pried on communications from the cockpit.
Experts on security believe Roberts crossed a line while researching security flaws, saying that connecting to in-flight systems is not the way to conduct security research.
United Airlines announced a bug bounty program that rewards 1 million fliers-mails to individuals in finding bugs, but the program clearly mentions that testing on aircraft or aircraft flight systems via Wi-Fi is prohibited.