Steve Nichols


Visitors looking at the latest ACARS systems, for transmitting digital data from aircraft to ground, should beware.


A High Wycombe-based company claims it has software which can hack the transmissions for just £24.99 ($40).


The SkySpy software, which is being offered by Pervisell, is supposed to be able to decode ACARS using just an AM airband receiver, a simple interface and a

Pentium PC.


It promises to decode and extract aircraft registrations, messages and flight numbers in real time, and even log them to a database. Pervisell can supply the interface

for a further £16.99 or hackers can build their own from a few electronic components.


The software comes on a single disk; an article in Short Wave Magazine says it appears to work very well.




ACARS digital transmissions carry details of schedules, weather, emergency conditions, aircraft performance and private messages.


The only way to stop hackers is to use digital encryption, which will become increasingly necessary if aircraft companies are to keep their secrets to themselves.


Pervisell hasn't restricted itself to ACARS transmissions either. The company also sells software to hack pagers, weather fax, NAVTEX, RTTY and other

commercial transmissions - some of it for less than £3.

Source: Flight Daily News