Towards an enhanced cybersecurity for airliners

A few months ago, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the authority that governs the American sky brought together representatives of manufacturers of aircraft and aerospace OEMs to study measures to be taken to protect airliners against cyber attacks. Officially, no airliner has never been victim of a computer attack and manufacturers security experts are questioning the veracity of the hack directed by Chris Roberts in 2015. Had he taken partially taken control of command of the United 737? The FAA does not run the risk, by one means or another, that a hacker threatening the safety of the flights. Manufacturers must beef up cyber security of their devices.

The jamming of GPS concerned about FAA

Officially, it is the jamming of GPS signal that arouses the most fears on the part of U.S. authorities and is one of the main topics on which the FAA had requested aviation work. The panel of professionals United by the FAA has agreed the need to set up an alarm system to report in real time to the pilot that his plane equipment has been hacked. A few months later, the equipment manufacturer Raytheon has just announced the availability of such a system. In the same way there on enterprise network intrusion detectors, the equipment developed by Raytheon inspects the data circulating on the aircraft data buses to identify orders that would betray an attack on one of the systems of the aircraft and then generate an alarm in the cockpit. Raytheon release highlights the fact that many on-board amenities have been designed with technologies of the 1970s (!), so without any worries of cybersecurity.

If the OEM certainly blackens the table, the security of airliners remains a difficult to speak out publicly by aircraft manufacturers. If all ensure that measures were taken to protect embedded systems, the importance of computers in modern aircraft makes them critical in the flight safety since each order the driver now goes through a whole chain of calculators before arriving to the governed. The protection of these computers is so become paramount, yet the concept of segregation systems, with different networks for the flights and the systems for little passengers to little room for logical segregation based on virtualization with computers that perform several different functions. An approach that allows to limit the number of on-board computers, the number of kilometres of cables and therefore gain weight. Aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus install digital certificates on equipment are not infected to a Trojan horse any at the time of their installation in the aircraft. This approach will stand long a strong trend of consequences in terms of safety, connected aircraft. The wave of Big Data pushes the aircraft manufacturers, but also suppliers of engines and other embedded devices to connect their systems in order to repatriate operating data. As soon as a plane comes to its gate, TB of data are transmitted to the ground. Will a pirate ever to exploit these characteristics of the modern airplane?

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“Raytheon: A remedy for bad altitude – Aircraft warning system will alert pilots to cyber attacks “, Raytheon release, December 21, 2016

“Panel Reaches Preliminary Agreement on Airliner Cybersecurity Standards”, The Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2016

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