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Researcher: Planes Can Be Hacked Via In-Flight Wi-Fi

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Cybersecurity expert Ruben Santamarta warns vulnerabilities in the in-flight Wi-Fi systems could be exploited to hijack or bring down a plane. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Cybersecurity expert Ruben Santamarta warns vulnerabilities in the in-flight Wi-Fi systems could be exploited to hijack or bring down a plane. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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LAS VEGAS (CBS DC) – It’s possible that the in-flight Wi-Fi could be used to sabotage or even hijack an airplane. That’s the warning from security consultant Ruben Santamarta, reports CNet.

Santamarta will be presenting his findings Thursday at the annual Black Hat gathering of hackers and cyber security experts in Las Vegas.

He based his findings on the vulnerabilities of the ground stations that access the Internet via satellites.

Santamarta tested the same devices the airlines use and “found that 100 percent of the devices could be abused.”

“In certain cases no user interaction is required to exploit the vulnerability, just sending a simple SMS or specially crafted message from one ship to another ship can do it,” he said.

The vulnerabilities could allow unauthorized users to remotely gain control of important navigational or safety systems.

So far the only known hacks of these systems has been in the lab and the makers of the online systems say the risk is minimal.

Santamarta says the reason for his research is to warn about the dangers and encourage security experts to do more to keep hackers out.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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