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Hacker attack leaves 1,400 passengers of Polish Airlines stuck in Warsaw

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June 22, 2015

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It is reported this morning that a hacker attack has left over 1,400 passengers of LOT Polish Airlines stuck several hours in Warsaw, after the company discovered it was unable to file flight plans for its departing aircraft.

Used to issue all the various flight plans, the airline's ground computer system has been hacked yesterday afternoon.

The system was back online after about five hours, leading to at least ten flight cancellations and a dozen or more flights were delayed as a result of all the confusion.

LOT announced that it had encountered a serious IT attack that affected our ground operation systems. As a result, we’re not able to create any new flight plans for now, and outbound flights from Warsaw are not able to depart either.

"We'd like to underline however, that it has no influence on plane systems. Aircraft already airborne will continue their flights as planned. Aircraft with flight plans already filed will return to Warsaw normally," it added.

A LOT spokesperson said the company had taken care of the passengers on Sunday evening and claimed it was providing hotels for those who needed to stay in Warsaw overnight.

Spokesman Adrian Kubicki stated that at no point in time was the safety of ongoing flights compromised and flights destined for Warsaw were able to land safely.

But no other airports were affected at this time, he added. "We're using state-of-the-art computer systems, so this could potentially be a threat to others in the industry," Kubicki added.

The attack is now being investigated by the authorities. Details of the alleged hacker attack have not been forthcoming, and reports about the hack have been a topic of debate amongst security researchers on social media, including Mikko Hypponen, chief of security firm F-Secure.

The in-flight security of airliners has been a topic of much public alarm in recent months. Security researcher Chris Roberts claimed to have hacked a plane in May, and was subsequently arrested by the FBI, despite avionics and entertainment systems being thoroughly isolated.

Source: LOT Polish Airlines.

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