Polish air traffic grounded after cyberattack

22 Jun 2015

Poland’s LOT airline appeared to be in a panic on Sunday after 10 flights flying out of the country’s largest airport, Chopin Airport in Warsaw, were grounded when its ground control system was targeted by cyber-attackers.

The cyberattack left 1,400 passengers due to travel stranded on the ground as the situation began to unfold, resulting in serious delays at the airport.

According to Reuters, the successful breach occurred sometime in the afternoon of Sunday, 21 June, leaving LOT’s IT security team scrambling to close off the system from external attacks.

It was not until five hours later that they were able to locate the breach and restore its ground control systems.

Aside from the 10 flights nationally and internationally that were cancelled outright, more than a dozen flights were subsequently delayed considerably by the disruption.

Spokesperson for the company, Adrian Kubicki, said that at no point were the lives of the passengers on board the craft in danger as a result of the cyberattack and that only Chopin Airport was affected by the attack.

No one has come forward to take responsibility for the attack, but Kubicki said that many other airports are potentially now at risk as Chopin Airport’s IT security systems were considerably stronger than the average.

“We’re using state-of-the-art computer systems, so this could potentially be a threat to others in the industry,” Kubicki said.

LOT aircraft image via Chris/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic