Furthermore the access to the systems, he claims, is through the IFE (In-Flight Entertainment) socket underneath his seat. There is almost no connectivity between the IFE and the aircraft avionics systems and the manufacturers are fully aware of such threats in any event. If there were a real threat it would be very easy for engineers to disconnect the IFE completely from any interconnection with the aircraft systems. You might lose your moving map but not a lot else. Even Chris Roberts himself says it would be “extremely difficult” to do what he says is “possible”. That being the case it would be easy for manufacturers and regulators to stay well ahead of people like Chris Roberts.
My view? I would invite this man to the table and ask him to demonstrate how these things can be done – to be fair to him he does seem to be trying to highlight something he believes in, but is going about it the wrong way. I think that will happen now.
Airbus provided the following statement to SecurityWeek:
“We in partnership with our suppliers are constantly assessing and revisiting the system architecture of our products with an eye to establishing and maintaining the highest standards of safety and security. Beyond that, we don't discuss design details or safeguards publicly, as such discussion might be counterproductive to security.”
Boeing have posted a similar reassuring statement:
“IFE systems on commercial airplanes are isolated from flight and navigation systems. While these systems receive position data and have communication links, the design isolates them from the other systems on airplanes performing critical and essential functions.”
The FAA’s (USA regulator) Office of Safety currently certifies new interconnected systems and has started reviewing rules for certifying the IT security of all new systems as part of the aircraft certification process.
John Leahy 24 April 2015