Clive Irving’s and Joseph Cox’s chilling headline sets up a worrisome and complex scenario. A cyber team from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hacked into the avionics of a parked commercial airplane as part of a test.

The details of the test are limited as they are considered classified. But the bottom line is that as aviation manufacturers have been innovating their way to savings and automation, the collective intelligence of the hacker community has evolved such that they could, theoretically, break into the avionics systems with inexpensive, commonplace tools.

While the test was conducted on an airplane with a design that dates back to the 1970s, the The Daily Beast reports that hundreds of these planes are still flown by American carriers. Adding context, Irving and Cox write, “Since the DHS tests were carried out on an airplane parked on the tarmac, and not in the air, an airline industry source cautioned that they were ‘done in a manner that was far from anything that would ever occur in real world conditions.’” Either way, the test raises some serious questions that are worthy of examination.

Read the full story at the The Daily Beast.