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1,400 passengers grounded after airport hack

1,400 passengers grounded after airport hack
Image courtesy of Wikimedia

By now, we're used to hackers targeting us at home and on our mobile devices, but what about being targeted when you fly? That's now the case after 1,400 travelers were stranded in the Warsaw Airport in Poland on Sunday.

You may recall last month when a security researcher made headlines - and was booted off of a flight - when he tweeted about hacking an airliner in flight. Now cybercriminals pinpointed the ground-based computer programs used to manage flight plans for the Polish LOT Airline. Over the weekend, hackers attacked the airline's computer flight planning system. It took about five hours to get the system back to normal.

During that time, 10 flights were grounded and about a dozen more delayed, leaving hundreds of passengers irritated and stuck in the airport. A message from LOT read: “[Sunday] afternoon LOT encountered IT attack that affected our ground operation systems. As a result we’re not able to create flight plans and outbound flights from Warsaw are not able to depart."

The airline offered these weary travelers hotel accommodations, but that couldn't ease their minds. LOT officials stress that no one's safety was in jeopardy during this hack, however. “We’d like to underline that it has no influence on plane systems. Aircrafts that are already airborne will continue their flights. Planes with flight plans already filed will return to Warsaw normally.”

We know about the failed technology that lead to several major airplane crashes and disappearances over the last couple of years, but now inadequate technology could lead to the hacking and grounding of many flights. I really hope airlines will step up their cybersecurity game before it's too late.

This information is concerning but I'll keep you up to date with any developments. What do you think about this type of hack? Are you fearful or do you think it was just a fluke? Let me know by commenting below.

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