The Hackable Jetliner: Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner

Though I am supposed to be on vacation right now, what would be a vacation without poking ones head in to see what’s going on? Well I’m glad I did. UneasySilence just posted a quick blurb on the hack-ability of the new Boeing 787. From the Wired.com article from which it’s based:

The computer network in the Dreamliner’s passenger compartment, designed to give passengers in-flight internet access, is connected to the plane’s control, navigation and communication systems, an FAA report reveals.

Now from my standard point of view, with regards to the world of counter/terrorism- all I can think of is worst case scenario- NOT good.

According to the FAA document published in the Federal Register (mirrored at Cryptome.org), the vulnerability exists because the plane’s computer systems connect the passenger network with the flight-safety, control and navigation network. It also connects to the airline’s business and administrative-support network, which communicates maintenance issues to ground crews.

Oh, but wait- they say they have a fix,

Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said the wording of the FAA document is misleading, and that the plane’s networks don’t completely connect.

Gunter wouldn’t go into detail about how Boeing is tackling the issue but says it is employing a combination of solutions that involves some physical separation of the networks, known as “air gaps,” and software firewalls. Gunter also mentioned other technical solutions, which she said are proprietary and didn’t want to discuss in public.

“There are places where the networks are not touching, and there are places where they are,” she said.

Ok, now I’m a little confused, Gunter firsts states that the networks “don’t completely connect” but then states there is “some physical separation.” Well, which one is it? Connected or not?

I guess it really doesn’t matter, for if there is ANY way of getting around said firewalls, we’re screwed. Don’t think for one moment that someone within the terrorist cells of the world didn’t already pick up on this story and is already plotting a way to take advantage of the situation.

Have a good week!

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