Polish airline LOT grounded by ‘first attack of its kind’

Hackers are being blamed for an attack which grounded 1,400 passengers set to fly on Polish airline LOT.

The passengers were waiting to fly from Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin Airport when the attack occurred at around 4:00 pm (1500 GMT). The airline’s ground operations system was knocked offline by the targeted attack, which led to the cancellation of 10 flights departing from Warsaw, and the delay of about a dozen more, according to Reuters.

“This is the first attack of its kind,” LOT spokesman Adrian Kubicki told TVN 24 television, according to Yahoo News.

The state-owned airline said in a statement on its website that the “IT attack” meant it was unable to create flight plans and flights were not able to depart from Warsaw. The affected systems were fixed within five hours,

A spokesman told Reuters that the attack could have wider consequences for the aviation industry: “We’re using state-of-the-art computer systems, so this could potentially be a threat to others in the industry,” Adrian Kubicki said.

Yahoo reports that in December last year the International Civil Aviation Organization said cybercrime was a serious threat to in-air safety, and pledged to set up a “security culture” to protect passengers against serious incidents.

As reported on WeliveSecurity recently, there are concerns that planes offering in-flight Wi-Fi are vulnerable to being hacked. A report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggested that the rise in modern technology on commercial flights could put passengers at risk, due to potential hack attacks via Wi-Fi and other internet-based services. The report did point out that a nightmare scenario would not be easily achieved, but said that firewalls protecting passengers are not sufficient.

by Karl Thomas, ESET

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