At what point do white hat hackers cross the ethical line?
In recent months the news of Chris Roberts alleged hacking of an inflight entertainment system and possibly other parts of the Boeing 737 have sparked a wave of controversy. Public opinion was originally on Roberts’ side, but the recent publication of the FBI affidavit changed that drastically. According to the affidavit, Roberts admitted to doing a live “pen-test” of a plane network in mid-air.
Whether this is true or not, it raises some valid concerns over the ethical implications of white hat hacking. In the case of Roberts, who, according to the affidavit, was able to steer the airplane off the intended course, the consequences could have been dire. It is not believed that Roberts had any intention of hurting either himself or any of the passengers, but if the affidavit is in fact true, the possibility was real.