Small airplanes' electrical systems are vulnerable to physical hacking, according to the Department of Homeland Security, CNN reports.
According to the DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, researchers at cybersecurity firm Rapid7 found several ways a hacker could make aircraft display false information such as "engine telemetry readings, compass, and attitude data, altitude, airspeeds, and angle of attack."
The agency wrote: "The researchers have further outlined that a pilot relying on instrument readings would be unable to distinguish between false and legitimate readings, which could result in loss of control of the affected aircraft."
Rapid7 noted its research concerned small planes, not commercial aircraft, and did not identify and specific aircraft or manufacturers. They also note hackers must make physical contact by plugging a device into an aircraft's electronic systems to affect the display.
The department recommends "aircraft owners restrict access to planes to the best of their abilities" and advises manufacturers to review their electronic systems' security and consider implementing similar technology to what is used to secure cars.
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