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Comment: Re:No they cant. (Score 1) 151

by boaworm (#47603205) Attached to: Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

They did not get into the aircraft avionics.

They got into the satellite communications for the Infotainment system.

NONE of the systems like that have any interconnection to avionics or telemetry.

The article isn't very clear on exactly what they managed to do, but it is quite possible that there is a shared satellite data communication system shared for infotainment systems and aircraft system status/updates/notifications alike. Hopefully with a robust QoS in place. So _if_ someone could break into the message routing, they could intercept and possibly create their own messages to send along the channel.

If you check TFA's quote:

In theory, a hacker could use a plane's onboard WiFi signal or inflight entertainment system to hack into its avionics equipment, potentially disrupting or modifying satellite communications, which could interfere with the aircraft's navigation and safety systems, Santamarta said.

Since a modern airline has lots of avionics communicating with the ground, it could be that some of those messages may be edited/interrupted/faked. That's not to say that you could rlogin to the FMS and alter flightplans, or alter the flight path in any way.

Comment: Re:So, which is it? (Score 3, Informative) 151

by boaworm (#47603167) Attached to: Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

For the "navigation" systems, he's not talking about GPS (even if he were it wouldn't be a big deal, airplanes can navigate just fine without GPS), but the communication system does send the GPS location, altitude, and speed back home. If that goes down, not a big deal because that's not what air traffic control relies on.

More and more aircraft and ATC centers support ADS-B transponders and data, which include a GPS-derived position (altitude + position) messages as a part of System Tracking (you can check out Eurocontrols Asterix cat62 protocol and ADS-B applications). Older MSSR radars will provide you with a rough estimate of the position and an assumed altitude based on the aircrafts built-in systems, which is being tracked using for example Kalman filters to predict the current and future position. Switching over to GPS as the primary source of positioning data is allowing tighter packing of aircraft (reduced horizontal and vertical separation rules), which is becoming critical for congested airports to reduce the time between takeoffs/landings, as well as to keep aircraft in holding patters packed tighter together.

Also, ADS-B can be sent as frequently as 1 message/second due to signals going down towards earth rather than in all directions. Current MSSR radars usually have a scan time of 5-12 seconds.

So interruptions with these data links (say someone hacks into it and manages to shut it down) would lead to the ATC center having to fall back on MSSR Tracking, meaning you will be violating horizontal and vertical separation rules until the controller can create more space around the aircraft again.

Comment: Re:So, which is it? (Score 2) 151

by boaworm (#47603091) Attached to: Planes Can Be Hacked Via Inflight Wi-fi, Says Researcher

The pilot can use these data link communication channels to make his/her life easier. As an example, when asking for a new flight level clearance, they can (given up2date Flight Management System computers) dispatch a digital message to ATC (Air Traffic Control) rather than using the radio. A bit like sending a text message. This can be far more reliable than long-range radio where the audio quality isn't great. Similarly, the ATC can confirm the flight level clearance (climb or descent) via a data message, rather than over radio. The FMS display will confirm, reject or propose alternatives.

I can imagine a couple of not so scary scenarios:
* Overloading the data link, causing other messages to be delayed and/or dropped. This means the pilot will have to fall back to radio and/or resend the message.
* Read in-flight reporting/confirmation data
* Read load manifests, fuel status updates, passenger manifests etc.
* Access what other passengers are watching on their inflight entertainment system
* Eavesdrop on other passengers' facebook chats

And some more scary ones (if the break-in allows access to flight data messages):
* Send/request ATC communication, clearance requests etc
* Flooding ATC stations/comms systems with bogus data, preventing efficient communication between aircraft (this, and others) and ATC

One would assume the fly-by-wire system is entirely isolated from this.

Comment: Re:Graph is search results, not speed measurements (Score 3, Interesting) 281

It is a bit strange they did not correlate to iOS releases, but iPhone releases.

I find it much more likely that when you upgrade to iOS+1, the new features slow your phone down. I've experienced that several times, my 3GS became "much slower" after upgrading it. The new iOS had more eye candy etc.

But that's not the same as saying the old hardware is slower.

Comment: Re:One word against this idea: gloves ... in winte (Score 1) 750

by boaworm (#43787259) Attached to: House Bill Would Mandate Smart Gun Tech By U.S. Manufacturers

Cops in Minnesota in the dead of a winter snowstorm are just gonna LOVE this tech.

Yea.. i thought the same. Where I grew up, hunters use gloves when waiting for the game, it's simply too cold not to.

But maybe if you fill in a form of some sort, you can get an exemption from the requirement. That would solve the problem...

Comment: Re:A Better Idea (Score 1) 750

by boaworm (#43787213) Attached to: House Bill Would Mandate Smart Gun Tech By U.S. Manufacturers

How about we actually fucking teach kids about guns, how they work, and what they're used for? That would do a hell of a lot more to curtail gun-related deaths, and without the (un)intended side effect of rendering personal protection weapons useless by legislative fiat.

I hit my brother with a baseball bat when I was 10. I was fully aware how a baseball bat worked at the time. I was simply very angry.

Looking back, I'm very happy it was a baseball bat and not a handgun.

Comment: No tilt.. so lets move it over the ocean? (Score 4, Interesting) 152

by boaworm (#43787163) Attached to: Transporting a 15-Meter-Wide, 600-Ton Magnet Cross Country

>> The trip will be tense, because the ring’s massive electromagnet cannot tilt or twist more than a few degrees, or the wiring inside will be irreparably damaged. It will float from New York Harbor in June, down the East Coast, around Florida, up the Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi River by July.

That seems rather risky. Most ships would at one point or another tilt more than a few degrees to either side due to .. waves. No mention on if this is a gyro-stabilized barge perhaps...

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.