(Source: Seattle Times)
No, you can't crash a Boeing 787 from the in-seat Internet access

As if the next-generation aircraft race between Boeing and Airbus was not convoluted enough, a scathing report from Wired Magazine claims the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft contains serious flaws regarding its internal network security.

Boeing caught flak last year when it announced its standard configuration for the Dreamliner used a wireless passenger network -- dubbed the Passenger Information and Entertainment Domain. Eventually the company reversed its position on wireless networks; opting for the increased bandwidth of a wired network.

A network security analyst ironically interviewed by Wired claimed, "This isn’t a desktop computer. It's controlling the systems that are keeping people from plunging to their deaths. So I hope they are really thinking about how to get this right."

A Boeing engineer, speaking on background, disagrees with the "absurd" Wired post. Strongly. "This is not an issue about hacking an aircraft, this is an issue about how the FAA will regulate the wiring." 

The engineer assured DailyTech, "Yes, it's not a desktop computer. Desktop computers don't take tens of billions of dollars and 15 years to engineer."

The FAA cautionary statement, mirrored by transparency advocate, states the following wordy summary:
The proposed architecture of the 787 is different from that of
existing production (and retrofitted) airplanes. It allows new kinds of
passenger connectivity to previously isolated data networks connected
to systems that perform functions required for the safe operation of
the airplane. Because of this new passenger connectivity, the proposed
data network design and integration may result in security
vulnerabilities from intentional or unintentional corruption of data
and systems critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane.
The statement when not read in its entirety alludes that there are network vulnerabilities -- or at least the possibility for network vulnerabilities -- in the Dreamliner. 

Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter claims the document is "misleading" and that such networks do not pose a threat.  "There are places where the networks are not touching, and there are places where they are," she adds.

Specifically, one of the two in-flight networks, the Aircraft Information Domain, monitors the number of connections and connectivity of the passenger network.

The FAA would not comment on the document, but states the obvious risks of having such networks coexist pose a potential risk for passengers and crew.  The FAA concludes, on record:
The design shall prevent all inadvertent or malicious changes to, and all adverse impacts upon, all systems, networks, hardware, software, and data in the Aircraft Control Domain and in the Airline Information Domain from all points within the Passenger Information and Entertainment Domain.
At the end of the day, the FAA special conditions mandate only claims Boeing must take caution to prevent passenger networks from making changes to its in-flight network. Boeing sures claims

But then again, Boeing sometimes reverses its opinion on things -- on the fly.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki