TECH

FBI Flight Hacker's Claim That He Took Control Of An Aeroplane Gets Slammed By Experts

19/05/2015 09:25 BST | Updated 19/05/2015 09:59 BST

The FBI are investigating claims by aerospace security expert Chris Roberts that he was able to hack into an aeroplane's cockpit and take control of the plane.

In a leaked search warrant, a special agent says that Roberts had confirmed that during a flight he had been able to actually steer the aircraft using nothing more than his laptop by hacking into the plane's entertainment system.

plane

Roberts claimed he could access the cockpit controls from his seat.

Roberts was detained and questioned however it's not believed that he is being held at this moment in time.

Since the incident Roberts has come under enormous scrutiny from the public and the infosec community with experts both echoing his concerns and discrediting them.

Although it appears as though Roberts has been told not to say anything further on the matter he did tweet a final statement saying:

Experts have started setting camp on two sides of the claim, either saying that he wildly exaggerated his claims or that he has simply addressed a long-held problem that has been largely ignored.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Alan Woodward from Surrey University believes that Roberts is most probably exaggerating saying in a statement that "flight systems are typically kept physically separate, as are any safety critical systems."

"I can imagine only that someone has misunderstood something in the conversation between the researcher and the FBI, someone is exaggerating to make a point, or, it is actually possible and the aircraft manufacturers have some urgent work to do."

One expert that does believe the transportation industry has a lot of work to do is controversial cyber security expert and founder of McAfee security, John McAfee.

john mcafee

John McAfee gives a statement on the incident at the Hack Miami Conference.

Talking in an interview at the Hack Miami Conference, McAfee said that Chris Roberts was a man with "a good heart", and that he had uncovered a "tremendous flaw" in the transportation industry.

McAfee goes onto point out that Roberts will almost certainly be punished with "life imprisonment at the very least" for "trying to bring [this] to the attention of the FBI, NSA to no avail."