Feeds

Aircraft bombs may mean end to in-flight Wi-Fi, mobile

New detonation options

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

The ability to use Wi-Fi and cellphones on planes may be curtailed just as it was about to take off, following an aviation threat uncovered last week.

Plastic explosives found in laser printer cartridges that traveled from Yemen to the UK and Dubai were connected to cellphone-based detonation circuits, prompting concerns that the bombs could have been triggered by calling or texting the handset, New Scientist and other publications said. New Scientist quoted several security experts who said the discoveries cast doubt on the wisdom of allowing in-flight communications involving the internet or cellphones.

Using voice over IP, text messages, or a simple phone call to trigger an explosion would give airborne suicide bombers new and potentially more reliable methods to detonate their deadly payloads. It might also allow terrorists on the ground to do much the same thing.

The speculation comes as in-flight internet services were just taking flight. About 2,000 passenger aircraft are expected to offer satellite broadband service by the end of the year, compared with a couple dozen in 2008. Mobile carriers point out there are plenty of other ways to detonate a bomb, and say that phones don't constitute any additional threat.

There is no evidence the people behind the bombs found in the UK and Dubai planned to detonate them remotely using the cellphones. The handsets may have been used as timers only.

The New Scientist article is here. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.