A cybersecurity analyst who was removed from a United Airlines flight after tweeting about the airplane's security vulnerabilities told an FBI agent he had previously hacked into the in-flight entertainment system on a different flight and was able to take command of the plane long enough to make it fly sideways, according to a recently-released search warrant filed by the agency.
Chris Roberts, founder of One World Labs, was questioned by the FBI on April 15 upon landing at an airport in Syracuse after his flight from Chicago. According to the search warrant, Roberts told the FBI in February he had taken control of an aircraft, overwriting the code on the plane's "Thrust Management Computer" and issuing a "CLB," or command to climb.
“He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights,” FBI Special Agent Mark Hurley wrote in the warrant application filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York andpublished by a Canadian media outlet. “He also stated that he used Vortex software after compromising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”