Security experts said on Friday that a digital flaw in some Boeing Co. aircraft’s computer systems that might have allowed rogue hackers to alter data and lead pilots to make risky mistakes had been repaired.
The research team by cybersecurity firm Pen Test Partners reports that an “Electronic Flight Bag,” or EFB, is a tablet device used by pilots to plan flights. It contains older versions of a digital application used to calculate landing and takeoff speeds on some aircraft.
The report, which was presented at the DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas on Friday, stated that if data modification takes place and the resulting miscalculations are not discovered during the crew’s necessary cross-check or verification process, an aircraft could land on a runway that is too short or take off at the wrong speeds, potentially leading to a tail strike or runway excursion while Alex Lomas, a security consultant at Pen Test Partners, claimed during the presentation on Friday, that there was a very little chance that this would affect flight safety. Pilots receive training to deal with unique circumstances.
Boeing issued a statement claiming that it was unaware of any damaged aircraft but had already delivered a software upgrade to fix the problem.