Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When computers strike....

Here's an original hypothesis (mine) that could explain the disappearance of MH370 that has a less-than-a-needle-in-a-haystack chance of ever being proven:  Unknown hackers gained remote control of the jetliner, leaving the pilots powerless to control their craft.  The hackers disabled certain systems and steered the plane in a direction of their choosing.  

The pilots couldn't control turn, climb, descent, or even communicate their dilemma.  It was a beta test to see if they could actually do it.  Then the hackers crashed it into the most remote spot they could think of that would make recovery all but impossible.

It's technically possible.  As a demonstration some "good guy" hackers have shown they can get into the computers that control a car's functions and apply the brakes, turn the steering, shut off the power, etc.  (Read more about it via THIS link.)  With such reliance on onboard computers, cars, planes, power grids, even home appliances can be tapped into and subverted.  The possibilities are real and endless.

Can you imagine the hysteria that would paralyze us if we thought bad guys could take control of our transportation system and cause wrecks willy-nilly?  Transportation is critical to advanced civilizations.  The mobility of people, and more importantly commerce, defines modern society.  Lose that ability and we're screwed.

Of course, if investigators found this to be the cause of the MH370 crash they couldn't admit it, as just the knowledge such a thing was possible would paralyze us.  

"Live by computer, die by computer" as they say.  My yellow pad and #2 pencil are lookin' pretty good now, huh?  :)

aka The Technological Neanderthal

EDIT:  As I was composing this K came into the Great Room and said, "Oops.  I think I changed the channel on your TV by mistake.  Sorry."  It seems she was in the bedroom and, using a cell phone app, changed the channel on the wrong TV.    *cue The Twilight Zone music*


  1. I suppose it's theoretically possible.

  2. Not that farfetched if an airline employee was involved. I really hope that is not what happened.

    Might make a good movie.

    1. Sounds like a job for Bond. James Bond. ;)

  3. More Twilight Zone music please. There were 20 employees of Freescale Semiconductor on the plane. Freescale is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Their speciality is computer-based remote control chips and software. Such as the Nest application that I can control my thermostat from my iPhone. Or the AT&T security application to control the locking of doors from your house.

    Your theory was talked about last week on a radio show that I listen to on the computer. Yes, it could be possible.


  4. I would guess it is possible, but think it's unlikely unless a Governent agency was involved.

  5. Sure.... It would have to be more than a kid on a laptop. It would have to be a huge, well funded, highly organized effort.

  6. A fascinating hypothesis, as good as any I've heard.

  7. S
    We'll be in Roswell next week... I'll see if I can pick up any leads for you.

  8. I do not know about B-777 aircraft, but I would think they have a lot in common with 737-400 aircraft in the avionics department. Many computers yes, but shielded against EMF and cell phone interference. The major system is the FDC or Flight Data Computer. there are two of them redundant style and redundant flight inputs. They have a basic output port that shows some parameters which has been linked to ADS for flight tracker company's, but no way to get inside them remotely.
    The Auto Land and Auto Takeoff computer gets it's info from the FDC also. It is a hardened system also.
    The TCAS and Radio Altimeter and the Transponder are all independent systems. The Nav radio can be used for landing and auto pilot linked control, I see no weak link there either.

    I guess I will have to quit retirement and get a job as an avionics tech to find the real answer.

  9. Please send this post and/or your resume to Hollywood. You need to write the script for this movie!

    1. I'll insist that you play the heroine. A star is born! ;)

  10. Don't let K go anywhere near DFW International with her cell phone!

  11. I have yet to do any more harm with my AT&T Uverse app :)

    the weirdest part of all ..... "fancy" French math found for certain that the plain went down righttt hereeee...if I were a family member - screw your fancy math and find me some airplane parts....and don't we have submarines? Can't they go find some airplane parts that have sunk or whatever....don't we even have some high tech research subs that go at that Marianas trench? 2014 ppl ... you don't lose something that big unless you want it lost. **

    **I have no desire to check my facts nor my spelling and I haven't kept up with the latest developments on the plane since yesterday morning so if they did find some plane parts kuddos to them.