Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Boeing 787 Dreamliner Network Security
In 2008 Boeing had made all sorts of headlines in the media, due to some new technological developments in their newly designed 787 Dreamliner. These headlines that splashed across websites were initially brought about due to a FAA “special conditions” report. This topic of this report first appeared in Flight International, and then a few days later it gathered momentum in a critical follow up from Wired Magazine. According to Wired (2008), the FAA states “Boeing’s new 787 may be vulnerable to hacker attack”. All of this has come about due to the new design features of the 787. Whilst designing what they believed to be an aircraft for the future, they had pre-empted the future need for in-flight entertainment and access to the Internet. Something that is all too common in todays airline travel. The 787 would have three separate networks: one for flight safety and navigation, one for administrative functions and one for entertainment and Internet access. The problem the FAA faced was that all of these three networks would be connected together. This was a cost saving initiative by Boeing, and also a way of trying to reduce weight of the aircraft by dramatically reducing the amount of cabling running through the airframe. What the FAA faced was a new development, which they themselves admitted that their own scope of this type of design was not far enough ahead. Therefore they came up with the special report, requiring Boeing to demonstrate the safety features of the network that would prove no unauthorized access from the passenger side of the aircraft to the flight controls or navigation features. As well as other unauthorized access from outside the aircraft, i.e. over the Internet, or accidental changes to data by any staff members. Boeing had already foreseen the issue and apparently had even met the new
References: Arthur, C. (2012, May 29). Cyber-Attack Concerns Raised Over Boeing 787 Chip’s Back Door. Retrieved from Charette, R. (2008, January 7). FAA To Boeing: Please Show That 787 Dreamliner Can’t Be Hacked. InfoSecurity. (2008, January 10). FAA Plays Down Boeing 787 Security concerns.