App Exposed Flight Data of Japan’s Air Force One for Years

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

Flightradar 24 tapped into the public satellite feed of Prime Minister Abe’s supposedly-covert aircraft.

A Swedish-made mobile app for years inadvertently leaked the flight path of Japan’s government aircraft to aviation fans, The Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

Japan’s Defense Ministry asked the developer of “Flightradar 24” to bottle the sensitive information after the lapse was pointed out by the newspaper

The app, Flightradar 24, became available in 2006.

Japan’s Air Force One planes transport the prime minister and senior government officials for overseas visits.

"The ministry asked the company to make the change on August 8 and confirmed the firm took action on August 27," a ministry spokesman told AFP

The app works by tracking data from the onboard ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) transponder, a technology that allows an aircraft to identify its position via satellite. That data is periodically broadcast for tracking purposes to avoid midair collisions.

“When a user taps an airplane icon on the map, the app instantly shows flight data including latitude, longitude, speed, altitude, route, descending or climbing rate and aircraft type, together with a photo. The function exposes take-off and landing times, which are the likeliest windows for terrorists to attack an aircraft,” according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Read the rest at ThreatWatchNextgov’s regularly updated index of cyber breaches.

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