Next airplane hijackers might just be carrying Android phones

Next airplane hijackers might just be carrying Android phones
We knew that the Android platform is versatile, but this here security research takes the cake. At the Hack In The Box Conference in Amsterdam, an IT security expert and licensed commercial pilot, demonstrated how "complete control” over an airplane can be achieved with just your Android device.

Hugo Teso hacked the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) in a virtual environment, and it apparently wasn't hard to do, as those turned out pretty prone to malicious attacks. He then even developed an app called PlaneSploit that takes over the flight management system (FMS), and can give it directions to change course and the like.

The exploit only works when the plane is on autopilot, and the people in the cockpit can still take manual control over the gear if they know the flight computer has been hacked, but nevertheless Mr Teso warned the air carriers of the threat, as once he installs his virtual environment called SIMON on the plane, it seems to be untraceable.

As for the PlaneSploit Android app, its interface apparently allows all sorts of shenanigans with the plane, once the app has lodged itself in the FMS, and you can use it with the following commands:

  • Please go here: A way of interacting with the plane where the user can dynamically tap locations on the map and change the plane’s course.
  • Define area: Set detailed filters related to the airplane, for example activate something when a plane is in the area of X kilometers or when it starts flying on a predefined altitude.
  • Visit ground: Crash the airplane.
  • Kiss off: Remove itself from the system.
  • Be punckish: A theatric way of alerting the pilots that something is seriously wrong – lights start flashing and alarms start buzzing.

The cherry on the top is that you can even use the phone's accelerometer to physically change the plane's course by just tilting your handset in different directions, as if you are playing an Android game.



1. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Hahaha......this cracks me up! xD Android phones can have "complete control” over an airplane........... xD

8. noim1

Posts: 297; Member since: May 15, 2012

WEll that's Why Android is Best !!! It is the next Windows in the Mobile World... I almost started laughing my guts out reading the accelerometer controlling part " AS if Playing an Android game " ... HA HA HA HA ..LOL

9. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Hahaha.........what's next? Next, Android phones can control our cars, control our stove (Auto Cook)....... How to use Auto Cook from Android Step 1. Just turn the power on. Step 2. Order a food, for example just say Burrito. Step 3. Be patient, it takes some time to cook. Step 4. Bon Appetite! Tips : Don't cook when the battery is low, remember to charge it before cooking! Warning : Remember to turn the power off! Don't put your hands on the fire! Thanks for choosing Android Auto Cook! Android Always be with you! :)

10. noim1

Posts: 297; Member since: May 15, 2012

Nice Android Auto Cook concept ...ha ha ha ... the Cooking & Oven manufacturers may steal ur innovative idea better patent it or else Apple will steal it & may b Tim Cook will name it after him ----> iCook ...(Humor)

11. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I don't have so much money to patent it! lol xD

2. cmatej000

Posts: 13; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

Haha Lool :P

3. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

next episode of Air Crash investigations might feature a review of this app

5. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Ok and what's the OS that the plane computer runs on?

15. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1778; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Windows 98

6. rizky_p

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 29, 2011

Cool a new reality based game.

7. p0rkguy

Posts: 685; Member since: Nov 23, 2010

War Games : Aerial Strike

12. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

lol androids arent stable enough for this lol

14. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

your so funny

13. jaabubby

Posts: 38; Member since: Jan 16, 2010

Gee, what's next? Demonstrating how Android can be used to hack the PLCs at power stations again or another Stuxnet-esque attack?

16. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

That's actually pretty scary, the possibility of crashing a plane at your finger tips on a smartphone.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless