Commercial and even military planes have an Achilles heel that could leave them vulnerable to hackers on the ground, who experts say could conceivably commandeer cockpits and create chaos in the skies.
For now, terrorist groups are believed to lack the sophistication to bring down a plane remotely, but it is their limitations, and not aviation safeguards, that are keeping the flying public safe, according to security analysts. The flaw lies in the entertainment and satellite communications systems, according to Chris Roberts, founder of OneWorldLabs, a Colorado based cyber security intelligence firm that consults with government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits.
"We can still take planes out of the sky thanks to the flaws in the in-flight entertainment systems," said Roberts, who discovered susceptibilities in the system passengers use to watch television at their seats and is sharing his findings with the federal government. "Quite simply put, we can theorize on how to turn the engines off at 35,000 feet and not have any of those damn flashing lights go off in the cockpit."
While commercial planes are potential targets, business, private and military aircraft also are at risk, according to another aviation security analyst who shared his findings with FoxNews.com.