Anti-Tamper and Network Security in Transportation

While there has been over a decade of history in pushing, specifying, and implementing network command and control security for all levels of military equipment, the US Government has not taken any direct steps to implement network security for transportation.

This has all changed in the last year, with focus on vulnerabilities in SCADA systems and other elements of United States infrastructure. The lastest change comes with a notice from the FAA courtesy of an online blog at NextGov.com.

In this FAA notice, a short public deficiency report pointed out an area of focus for Boeing Corporation, in order to flight certify the latest member of their 747 series of widebody aircraft. In this notice, it was pointed out that the Boeing 747-8 ‘Intercontinental’ has a fairly unprecedentedly open electronic bus and command structure, that could open the aircraft and its operations to unintended effects, malicious hacking and insertion, and possibly catastrophic interference with the airliner’s operation. In short — Boeing was asked to perform some of the same vulnerability analysis activities and implement similar anti-tamper / network protection solutions as military systems and subsystems.

While this is not likely the Gladwellian ‘Tipping Point’ for network security and anti-tamper technologies in the mainstream, it is certainly a sign of major expansion in the Government requirements scope for ‘Cyber Warfare’ technologies and defenses.

Excerpted below are some of the exact words of the FAA bulletin, link again courtesy of NextGov.com.

“FAA said that before it certifies the 747-8 for operation, Boeing:

  • must ensure electronic system security protection for the aircraft control domain and airline information domain from access by unauthorized sources external to the airplane, including those possibly caused by maintenance activity.
  • ensure that electronic system security threats from external sources are identified and assessed, and that effective electronic system security protection strategies are used to protect the airplane from all adverse impacts on safety, functionality, and continued airworthiness.”
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