Ladies and Gentlemen, Our Flight Has Been Hacked

It's possible to hack just about anything — even the occasional toaster — but according to FAA documents, it's even possible to hack Boeing's new 787.

The documents — known as "special conditions," and utilized whenever there aren't existing regulations to cover a given issue — reveal the FAA's concern that the systems designed to provide in-flight internet access to passengers are tied into the systems that navigate, control, and provide communication for the plane. While the document's language makes the issue seem dire, Boeing representatives claim the system is not really as connected as the FAA seems to think, though they did admit "there are places where they [the networks] are [touching]." They went on to say that Boeing has been working on the issue with the FAA for a number of years, and that the issue will be resolved before the planes go into service, currently anticipated for November 2008.

Still, I know if I'm ever on a 787, I'll be just a little bit nervous that we might end up in Timbuktu, hacked by Little Timmy in seat 25B.

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Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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Safety is not a negotiable cost...

gnome's picture

It seems as if a simple engineering decision to keep critical systems separate from entertainment systems would have saved them in the long-run but instead I smell some business executive saying "Hey, let's combine the two and we can save x dollars on per unit costs which means our short-term profits will increase!" Hopefully they aren't running Windows... :-) Instead of the "blue screen of death" it will be the "blue sky of death." Yikes.

Adam Dutko is a Linux Journal Reader Advisory Panelist.
"...thanks for all the fish..."

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