Wireless systems used by passengers on planes in the US could be hacked to access flight controls, a federal watchdog agency has warned.

report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said it is one of several emerging security threats not being dealt with properly.It comes as air traffic control is modernised to use satellite technology.

The US Department of Transportation said it was “committed to strengthening capabilities against evolving threats”.

GAO investigators spoke to cyber security experts who said onboard firewalls intended to protect avionics from hackers could be breached if flight control and entertainment systems use the same wiring and routers.

One expert told investigators “a virus or malware” planted on websites visited by passengers could provide an opportunity for a malicious attack.

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