Around 1,400 passengers of LOT, a Polish airline, were grounded at the Warsaw Chopin airport after a hacker attack.

The hackers targeted the airline ground computer systems which are used to release flights plans, according to LOT.

The computer systems were attacked in the afternoon of Sunday, June 21, and took around five hours to fix and put back online. During the time that the systems were being repaired, 10 LOT flights, both national and internal, were cancelled. Around a dozen more flights were also delayed for the state-owned airlines, according to Adrian Kubicki, the company's spokesman.

LOT took care of their passengers as night fell during the hacker attack. Some passengers were already inside the airplanes when the hacker attack was unleashed, and LOT said that it provided hotel accommodations for passengers that needed to spend the night while waiting for the computer systems to be fixed.

According to Kubicki, the hacker attack on the airline ground computer systems did not compromise the safety of flights that were already in the air at any point in time. The flights that were coming in to Warsaw landed safely, and no other parts of the airport or other airports were affected by the hacker attack.

Kubicki said that the company is using state-of-the-art technology in its computer systems, and with hackers being able to take that down, the attacks could pose as a major threat to the industry, especially with other companies that are using less sophisticated computer systems.

Authorities are now investigating the hacking incident.

Cybersecurity within airports and airplanes are becoming an increasingly important issue as hackers expand the range of their targets.

Last month, a computer security expert even claimed that he was able to take control of an airplane's flight systems, and was even able to make the airplane fly sideways.

The security researcher, Chris Roberts, said that he was able to do so by hacking into the in-flight entertainment system of an airplane. Roberts hacked into the systems by connecting a laptop to the electronic boxes of the in-flight entertainment systems. Once Roberts gains access to the system, he then reportedly accessed other systems that are on the flight such as the Thrust Management Computer, which controls the power being sent to the engines of the aircraft.

Photo: Eric Salard | Flickr

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