Security researcher Chris Roberts made headlines last month when he was hauled off a plane in New York by the FBI and accused of hacking into flight controls via his underseat entertainment unit.
Other security researchers say Roberts – who was quoted by the FBI as saying he once caused “a sideways movement of the plane during a flight” – has helped draw attention to a wider issue: that the aviation industry has not kept pace with the threat hackers pose to increasingly computer-connected airplanes.
Through his lawyer, Roberts said his only interest had been to “improve aircraft security.”
“This is going to drive change. It will force the hand of organizations (in the aviation industry),” says Jonathan Butts, a former US Air Force researcher who now runs a company working on IT security issues in aviation and other industries.