French police are investigating if navigation data from MH370 could have been hacked to disguise the route it took before crashing into the ocean.
Investigators wanted to go back over raw data collected by Boeing and the FBI after finding ‘inconsistencies’ in the Malaysian government report.
They also identified a ‘third entity’ that could also have useful data, and may manufacture software that could hack the plane’s satcom unit.
Furthermore, several ‘curious passengers’ that warranted further investigation included a Malaysian aeronautics expert seated directly beneath the satcom.
A plane’s satcom antenna communicates with a series of Inmarsat satellites and its data has been used to plot MH370’s path before it went down.
If the satcom was hacked, data could have been manipulated or deleted and the plane could have crashed far away from where recovery efforts searched.
The new theory was revealed by Ghyslain Wattrelos, a Frenchman who lost his wife and two teenage children when Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board.
He said judges overseeing the investigation by Gendamarie Air Transport, a French military police unit, told him of the new developments.
The GTA was trying to travel to the US to examine what Boeing and the FBI have, including data from pilot Zaharie Shah’s home flight simulator.
However, previous trips were cancelled after arguments about ‘confidentiality clauses’ and protection of Boeing ‘industry secrets’.
‘We are a little angry and now we want to say stop, it is time that the United States really cooperate on this issue,’ a frustrated Mr Wattrelos said.
‘It is necessary to go there because there are three entities that hold important information for understanding what happened on this flight.’
Investigators also wanted to speak with the ‘third entity’, an unnamed US company, to see what data it had and whether its software could hack a satcom.
“The essential trail is the Inmarsat data. Either they are wrong or they have been hacked.
“However, these satellite data are essential to better understand the trajectory of the aircraft,” Mr Wattrelos said.
Mr Wattrelos claimed the other passengers of interest were an Iranian man who asked his Facebook friends to pray for him days before the flight, two Ukrainians and an American with ‘atypical profiles’.
However, Aviation expert Victor Iannello said if the satcom was tampered with to change the route, this would imply the wreckage found so far was planted.
“To doubt the Inmarsat data implies doubting the veracity of the recovered parts.
“This is the first time a government investigative body is known to be seriously considering a hack of the satcom combined with planting of debris,” he wrote on his blog dedicated to MH370’s disappearance.
Mr Iannello also doubted examining Boeing’s data would provide anything new, and doubted the FBI would give up any more information.