Qantas Confident of Fleet Security After Hacker's Claims

18th May 2015

Recent claims by the One World Labs owner and hacker Chris Roberts are sure to shake the airline industry quite a bit. According to an FBI affidavit, Roberts claims that he can hack into the plane's in-flight entertainment system.

The affidavit says that Roberts claims he has "identified vulnerabilities" in a number of planes. This includes Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800, 737-900 and 757-200. He has also told the FBI agents that he has managed to exploit those weaknesses in the plane's in-flight entertainment system by using video monitors installed on the back on the passenger's seats.

Roberts further said he could hack into the electronic box located under the seat and connect to other systems on the plane network this way. He could, Roberts claim, re-write the code on the thrust management computer.

On his Twitter account, however, Roberts said that the affidavit has been taken out of context.

"Over the last 5 years my only interest has been to improve aircraft security given the current situation I've been advised against saying much."

He further apologized for the 'generic' statement:

"There's a whole 5 years of stuff that the affidavit incorrectly compresses into one paragraph - lots to untangle."

Qantas: "This Can't Happen on Our Planes"

Responding to all of this, a spokesperson for Qantas said they are confident their planes are secure against such hacking attacks.

Qantas Group head of security, facilitation and resilience, Steve Jackson said:

"Like everything we do, safety and security are our top priorities. The Qantas Group has extremely stringent security measures in place which are continually reviewed as part of normal business practice - these are measures that are more than enough to mitigate any attempt at remote interference with aircraft systems. The Qantas Group complies with, and in many cases, exceeds, all regulatory requirements and manufacturers' recommendations when it comes to the safety and security of our fleet."