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Polish plane IT attack? Apparently not, just a simple DDoS

Turns out, it wasn't that big of a deal after all

The Register has discovered that the unspecified IT attack which left 1,400 passengers of LOT Polish Airlines stranded in Warsaw was a simple DDoS issue, which had so impeded the airline's connection that it could not produce its flight plans in time for take offs.

The interruption to flights was attributed to various IT issues yesterday, drawing the skepticism and speculation of many security researchers on social media, especially after the airline claimed to have "fixed" its system after five hours.

This morning, when asked to identify the aforementioned IT attack, Adrian Kubicki told The Register that it was a DDoS which did not prevent the communication between the airline and its planes — rather, it prevented the airline from creating its flight plans in time for departures.

"We are obligated to follow procedure and we cannot fly an aircraft if it does not have a flight plan," Kubicki said, explaining that the issue escalated because of the timeline to which flights must be kept.

"The scale of the issue is not as serious as some people are describing," he added, and out "of all the affected flights we still managed to issue a couple of flights plans — which are printed, always — and [we also] switched to the back-up systems."

Kubicki states his concern is for a similar attack on a larger airline, with more passengers who may be affected, and claims that while solutions will be forthcoming to any vulnerabilities found, "the next day, new people will also find new attacks".

"This issue is not having perfect security — this is impossible — but what your system structure will look like, and that you can implement your back-up system very fast. This is the main task for the airline." ®

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