Hackers Ground 10 Flights and 1,400 Passengers in Poland

Over 1,400 passengers using the Polish Airline LOT have been grounded at Warsaw Chopin airport after 10 national and international flights were cancelled due to network and computer intrusions by hackers at Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin Airport on Sunday, according to a report by Reuters.

In a quick tweet at the time, the official Chopin Airport twitter account said:

A spokesman for the airline, Adrian Kubicki, said the hacker intrusion crippled LOT’s network and computers temporarily after gaining access to the computer system responsible for charting out flight plans.

In a press release, the airline noted that:

  • LOT encountered an IT attack (hacking attack) that led to ground systems and operations being affected.
  • Flight plans were disrupted and outbound flights from Warsaw were grounded.
  • The hack had no effect or influence on plane systems.
  • Significantly, the attack had no bearing on airborne planes that were already in the air.
  • Planes following pre-set flight plans that aren’t affected were running on schedule, normally.

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

The computer systems were hacked on Sunday afternoon, local time in Warsaw before eventually being fixed about five hours later. Passengers were taken care of by the airline and those required to stay overnight while flights were rescheduled were being provided with hotel accommodation, the airline added.

The official word from the affected airline

Soon after the hack attack, the airline issued a statement, saying:

“The situation after the IT attack on our ground operation system is already under control. We are working on restoring the regularity as soon as possible. Our operating center is already preparing flight plans. We will try to ensure that the largest number of passengers are informed and continue commenced journeys.”

The hack attack is now being investigated, with digital forensics already being performed.