Iranian Terrorists Stole (or Blew Up) the Airplane
You can't blame the United States for hearing about a missing jumbo jet and immediately thinking "terrorism." Only hours after MH370 went missing, rumors began to circulate that two Iranian nationals aboard the flight had been traveling with stolen passports, as did speculation that these passengers pointed to an Iranian terrorist plot.
Now it looks as if they were just two guys traveling with stolen passports. Interpol and did not find any evidence that linked them to a terrorist group. As Ronald K. Noble, secretary general of Interpol, told The New York Times, "The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident."
The Passengers are Safe ... and Taking Calls
Perhaps the saddest—and eeriest—Flight 370 theory is that the passengers are safe but unable to answer their cellphones. When the airplane first went missing, several of the passengers' families announced that their loved ones' mobile phones rang repeatedly, instead of going straight to voicemail. Add that to reports that the passengers' instant messaging accounts remain online and active, and some began to suspect that the passengers were alive, albeit with spotty Internet access.
Although we'd like to believe that the 227 souls aboard MH370 are alive and well, the phantom cellphone theory has been . Even if a phone is completely destroyed, a few rings on the caller's end are fairly typical while the network searches for a connection, Jeff Kagan, a wireless analyst, told NBC News.
Chinese Satellites Found the Wreckage
One of the most promising leads so far was the rumor that Chinese military satellites had . This news spread like wildfire last week, only to fizzle just as rapidly. Malaysian officials announced that the Chinese images did not contain signs of debris, and that search planes have already scoured this region of the South China Sea, to no avail.
The World's First Cyber Hijacker Is in Control
This week a theory has gained traction that a malicious hacker infiltrated the airplane's electrical system, echoing earlier , a technology consultant who announced last year that he could theoretically disable an aircraft with a cellphone.
It's a wild theory, and one that would fundamentally change how we view cyber security. But the that a hacker could gain control over a passenger jet. "The hacking technique described during a recent computer security conference does not pose a flight safety concern because it does not work on certified flight hardware," the FAA said in an official statement it released.
A Meteor Hit the Plane
of a meteor strike after noting that a meteor had been reported in the area around the same time that Flight 370 took off. The odds of a meteor taking out an airplane are pretty slim, and, ironically, the odds of being hit by a meteor are less than the odds of dying in a plane crash.
Just Another Zionist Plot
Unaware that they were citing a , conspiracy theorists have been promoting the theory that Israeli intelligence blew up Flight 370. and debunked the rumor, but that didn't stop some people from taking to social media to prove that the Mossad had performed yet another vicious (if not terribly covert) assassination.
Missing Engineers and Their Invisibility Cloaks
Amidst tired conspiracy theories that point fingers at the Illuminati, aliens, and the Mossad, one novel take on the missing flight caught our attention. Last week skeptics discovered that 20 of the missing passengers on board Flight 370 were engineers at Freescale Semiconductor, a technology firm that develops components for military aircraft weapons systems. : MH370 is cloaked, as part of either a wacky publicity stunt or a very sophisticated terrorist plot.
Although stealth technology could theoretically render an airplane invisible to radar, we're not convinced. Business associates often travel in groups, and Freescale Semiconductor has issued a statement expressing grief over the loss of its 20 employees.
An Elaborate Insurance Fraud
When a house catches fire, insurance companies investigate for signs of arson. But when a plane goes missing, how many insurers cry foul? Last week Malaysian officials investigated the insurance policies of each passenger on board MH370, searching for signs of recently purchased life insurance as a motive for suicide.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar has an elaborate insurance scheme, although we have no indication that any one passenger is suspected. While Malaysia claims to be examining all leads, we are fairly confident (read: hopeful) that one passenger didn't murder some 240 people to collect on his life insurance policy.
Obscure Airborne Chinese Martyrs
Days after the Malaysian Airlines flight went missing, the Chinese Martyrs' Brigade claimed responsibility. No one had ever heard of the Chinese Martyrs' Brigade, so officials were skeptical, but the brigade's sent to Chinese journalists read, "You kill one of our clan, we kill 100 of you".
Malaysia's minister of transportation, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, told reporters that "there is no sound or credible grounds to justify their claims."