Crashing an In-Flight Entertainment System

From CSO Online

The in-flight entertainment system Hugh Thompson was using on a recent flight allowed him to play Tetris to pass the time.  One of the features of this Tetris clone was a setting to allow you to see up to the next 4 pieces that would fall.

“To give myself the biggest advantage in the game, I pressed the + control as many times as it would allow and got to the maximum value of 4. I then put on my “bad guy” hat on and asked: How *else* can I change the value in this field? Near my armrest was a small phone console; you know, the one where you can make very important calls for a mere $22 per minute. I noticed that the phone had a numeric keypad and that it also controlled this television monitor embedded in the seat in front of me.”

The full story is an interesting bit on what happens when you don’t properly limit the max value of a field, and that field is only cast as a 1-byte integer.  Fortunately, crashing the entertainment system doesn’t bring down avionics as well.