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Security vulnerability could ground new 787 jet

Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner passenger jet could contain a "serious security vulnerability" according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (Via Wired (opens in new tab)).

"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 FAA adds (opens in new tab).

This means that a passenger could potentially break in the airplane's internal network and take control of the plane's systems.

A Boeing spokeswoman told Wired that passenger and control networks are only loosely connected but Boeing has already taken steps to make sure that the concerns of the FAA, which oversees air space in the US, are resolved.

More than 800 units of the airplane have been sold but until the FAA is fully confident that the plane is safe to fly, it will block the 777 deployment.

Mark Loveless, a network security analyst who presented a conference talk last year on Hacking the Friendly Skies commented on the announcement saying "This is serious, 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."

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.