Is there any way you could spoof an aircraft to look like a different one to ATC; so that you could stop a commercial airliner from taking off, and in...

Is there any way you could spoof an aircraft to look like a different one to ATC; so that you could stop a commercial airliner from taking off, and instead send an imposter aircraft loaded with ordnance in its place?

Say, if you specially converted a 777 to have a ramp at the back, then painted it in China Airlines livery; could you sneak it into Chinese airspace loaded with rapid dragon JASSMs?

Obviously, there's the transponder and a load of other electronic shit I've no clue about, which is why I'm asking.

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >Air China

    Frick, wrong one. China Airlines is Taiwanese.

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >Is there any way you could spoof an aircraft to look like a different one to ATC
    Yes, the transponder is how the ATC radar identifies different planes, it pings the plane and the plain sends back its transponder code. These codes are just typing numbers into a keypad, the pilots do this as part of their checklist before departing.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Wow, never imagined it'd be that simple.

      Cheers anon.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        It's very easy to hack systems that rely on trust. You literally just lie.

        Systems that don't rely on trust, lying doesn't get you very far. But those systems are in general much more expensive or less powerful, because trust is a pretty effective way to do things.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Yeah anon, Mode S doesn't have authentication and ACARS/ADS-B/ADS-C both don't have authentication. If you had the cooperation of the actual aircraft (ie China Airlines) then did something dastardly like having the actual flight take off, head somewhere inside China, detain the passengers, then have the rapid-year-of-the-dragon fly on it's scheduled flight path, you could do it without anyone being any the wiser.

          Except, perhaps, a US/Japanese/SK ship or aircraft with a targeting pod taking a VERY close look at you and realizing that you have a door where you shouldn't. But that's not particularly likely.

          Yeah it's been known for literally years that you can fake these things, and decades amongst people who have that as their job or an autistic interest. The guy at DEFCON in like 2013 pointing out that you could just fake ADS-B near an airport and nobody could do anything about it was the one that brought it to the public consciousness. He had a literal flight sim connected to a dummy transmitter (connected to a receiver connected to an ADS-B decoder) and showed that you could fly a virtual cessna around and have it show on ATC's screens.

          I believe someone else showed that you could create fake TCAS alerts. For those unaware, TCAS is a thing on planes that transmits its altitude to other aircraft and determines the altitude (from them), range and bearing of other aircraft, then gives a big fricking blaring warning to the pilots of any aircraft about to come too close. After a few mishaps it is now universal policy to unconditionally comply with any TCAS warning. I believe one incident involved both aircraft descending (one was told to ascend), which could have caused a collision. I assume you can figure out why spoofing TCAS is a horrible idea.

          Actual Mode 5/Link 22/Link 16 is immune to this frickery btw. It's all cryptographically authenticated.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            > both aircraft descending (one was told to ascend)
            If you're referring to the incident I think you are, TCAS told one to descend and the other to ascend... but the latter was being told to descend by ATC at the same time as the controller desperately tried to save them (TCAS doesn't tell ATC that it ordered a move). The fallout was that pilots were told that if there was a conflict between ATC and TCAS, follow TCAS because it was in instant communication with the other plane and didn't have to wait for voice instructions over the radio to make its decisions. In short, TCAS has priority because it's faster and louder and if it goes off there's precious little time to waste on thinking things over.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              That was the one, yes. Thanks anon.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Technically speaking, you don’t have to listen to ATC at all. The pilot in command has ultimate authority when it comes to safety.
              That being said, you better have a very good reason if you decide to ignore them.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            The Defcon guy was basing all his work on what's publicly available on ADS-B with a lot of the talk was him saying "I'm not here to spread FUD" before spreading FUD. There's no authentication for a lot of this shit but there is actually varying levels of verification that can be or is done. Those verification methods / systems are mostly nonpublic however so you have a lot of people freaking out over shit that isn't actually a major concern. Not that there isn't some concern, but isn't as bad as that guy thinks. Improving the verification process is also an area of active research.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        I mean, there's room for complications. If you take off or land with the wrong code, someone might notice. If you change code while someone's looking they'll notice. The aircraft you're mimicking, where did it go? If there's a duplicate code, someone notices. Most flights are scheduled, if you deviate from the usual route someone might notice.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          I mean in the case of the Chinese you could just take off, have the weapon-carrying aircraft meet you mid-flight, have theirs turned off (the pilots will necessarily be ex-PLAAF and under extreme pressure) and yours turned on at the same time, and then carry on as normal. The actual aircraft won't be emitting anything and all passengers will be restrained/have their phones taken and the weapon-carrying one will just continue on the briefed flight plan.

          You are correct that this wouldn't work anywhere except China or Iran though.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            I think this might be possible to pull off:
            -Have your weapon-carrying aircraft stationed somewhere well outside the target's radar range
            -Arrange for a technical problem to happen to a routine flight with a known standard route, by bribing a ground crew member or getting one of your operatives into such a role. Their job is just to delay the takeoff of the plane by ""discovering"" some problem which will take time to fix.
            -Weapons plane takes off and assumes the route & transponder code of the delayed plane. So long as it gets on the same route before it approaches target airspace there would be nothing unusual appearing to ATC, just flight 1234 coming in the same as it does every day.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Thank you Anon, that would explain that "Russian" Tiger I saw flying around Germany a few weeks back

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    A simple transponder fake-out is all that’s needed for fooling civilians. That won’t work against modern military systems that can identify planes based on their radar signature (radar image, counting fan blade rotations, etc, sort of like how a hydrophone can ID stuff based on the kind of noises it makes). I actually wonder if modern ATC have those systems now these days?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >I actually wonder if modern ATC have those systems now these days?
      No way. Most ATC has only quite basic radar, it can barely tell different kinds of planes apart without transponder information. And while some military radars are capable of the advanced stuff you mentioned most aren't. But you raise a good point: while it's trivial to spoof ATC, there is also military radar, and modern planes also have all kinds of diagnostic systems which talk to ground stations and satellites so if you tried to pull a plane switcheroo it's likely *someone* would notice, even if that's some engineer.

      Another point regarding military radar. As we know from the MH370 disappearance, the military might very well have "seen" something odd on their radar but might not want to make that information known for fear of disclosing their exact capabilities.

      This is a video about a situation where a small plane pilot had a medical emergency and a passenger talked to ATC and landed the plane. It's worth watching as it really illustrates just how little ATC knows, how the transponders work, and what happens when unknown aircraft enter another country's airspace.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Speaking of MH370, this is an excellent documentary which also goes into how planes are tracked, military vs. civvie radar, and so on.

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Old news.
    Malaysia had experimented with a 777 that could disappear off radar.

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    You can maybe intercept the plane you want to spoof and make sure the plane you're spoofing is on the runway or in maintainance. Issues come with getting past the legal area of it really unless you own someone within the airline who'll do a form for you for passage.
    If the plane you are spoofing has a waiver then it could very well be piss easy but chink ones probably don't.
    ATC doesn't really give too much of a shit.
    https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/us_restrictions/airspace/
    But entering into US airspace is more than mildly difficult, you'd need to set a flight plan form to send, at least 60mins before takeoff, with times and dates. Be warned, if it's a non standard form filling, then thus will likely be flagged, airlines often have specific methods of contacting the USG for this instead of the online form for efficency sake so you just doing it will be concerning especially with an airplane you probably don't have all the documentation for in terms of derails.

    For Defense VFR (DVFR) flights, the estimated time of AirDefenceIdentificationZone penetration must be filed with the appropriate aeronautical facility at least 15 minutes before penetration, except for flights in the Alaskan ADIZ, in which case, report prior to penetration. Additionally, VFR pilots must receive and transmit a discrete transponder code. This is the code you must spoof even if they accept your form.

    If you're actually China, this is easy shit, you just use the ID using the original planes box, make a fake flight form thats 100% real using the airlines own email, hope for no visual intercept, and you'll just get pinged by radar as whatever plane you're currently pretending to be as long as it's the right general speed.
    Then, when you're where you need to be, gg.

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Which tower do you plan to hit this time?

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    YES. The Iraqis did this very thing.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Stark_incident

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