Inflight entertainment system can be easily hacked, cyber security company


A security systems company says that the serious vulnerabilities found in popular in-flight entertainment system used by 13 major airlines that can allow hackers to potentially infiltrate the carrier’s activities.

On Tuesday, IOACtive, a research-driven security, has published a study that claimed “several cybersecurity vulnerabilities found in the Panasonic Avionics In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems.”

The systems are used by a number of major airlines, including United, Virgin, American Airlines, Emirates, AirFrance, Singapore and Qatar.


According to a press release in which the review, “the vulnerabilities in these systems could allow hackers to ‘hijack’ passengers’ in-flight displays and, in some cases, may be able to access their credit card information. These vulnerabilities may also act as a gateway to the broader network, depending on the system configurations on a plane.”

IOActive principal security consultant Ruben Santamarta said the possible consequences of the hack is versatile.

“As soon as the IFE system vulnerabilities exploited, a hacker can gain control of what the passengers see and hear from their in-flight tv,” Santmarta said.

“For example, an attacker can spoof information about the flight values, such as height or speed, or a fake route on the interactive map below. An attacker could also compromise the ‘CrewApp’ unit, which the PA systems, lighting, or even the sun loungers on the first-class seats.”

Santamarta says he began with the investigations of the Panasonic inflight entertainment platform two years ago while on a flight to Dubai, reports the BBC. He says that he “accidentally the screen in front of his chair display debug data [information that computer programmers fix programs]” and was able to access even more information about the code Panasonic used to run the back-of-the-seat screens and other aircraft computers.


After IOActive released its report, Panasonic claims rejected, with the argument that they are “incorrect and misleading”, according to a CTV News report.

“IOActive has chosen to be highly misleading and inflammatory statements suggest that hackers may be ‘theoretical’ access to the flight controls by the hacking of Panasonic’s in-flight entertainment systems,” the company said in a statement.

Panasonic also claimed that the tests conducted by the IOActive is not allowed and that the following results are unfounded.

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