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Pakistani Hackers Flood Air India Pilots with Music

It would appear that the Jammu airport, which is very close to the Kashmir line of control between Pakistan and India, should now be referred to as the ”JAM-mu airport.”

Pakistan and India might be at odds from a military and ideological perspective, but some are taking to playing DJ to get their point across. According to a Times of India report, Pakistani hackers are tapping into the frequency on which pilots communicate with air traffic control (ATC) while on the approach to land. They’re jamming regular communications and are instead transmitting popular Pakistani patriotic songs.

Air India operates Army charters to the forward base located at Thoise from Jammu too, and according to the report, these flights are also feeling the jams, as it were.

"We are made to hear songs like 'Dil, dil Pakistan, Jaan Jaan Pakistan [an iconic 80s song by Pakistani band Vital Signs],” one pilot told the paper. “Hacking of our frequency has been happening for some time now.”

"We use VHF, which is line of sight communication and is known as 'if you can see us, you can talk to us.' Due to this, hackers frequently jam our frequency with ATC and start playing their music. This is a big irritant as we are in final stage of landing," said another pilot.

It’s obviously a safety concern, so the pilots revert to the Northern Control in Udhampur when it happens, which coordinates with aircraft when they are over 10,000 feet up. The Northern Control calls up the Jammu ATC on landline and gets an alternate frequency for landing communications. It takes time to hack in, which gives enough time to land.

As a precautionary measure, the Jammu ATC frequency is changed frequently to minimize the spontaneous jam-boxing.

Photo © Vytautas Kielatis/Shutterstock.com

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