FAA Wants 747-8 Hack Proofed

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Boeing's latest 747, the 747-8, has new computer systems that "may allow the exploitation of network security vulnerabilities resulting in intentional or unintentional destruction, disruption, degradation, or exploitation" of critical systems, according to the FAA. In short, the FAA is making sure that Boeing addresses the possibility that the jets, which can be configured to hold 400 passengers, could be hacked. The issuance of special conditions is not unusual when the FAA is presented with the task of certifying new technologies in aircraft and the FAA's specific concerns regarding the 747-8 were published in the Federal Register. That did, however, stimulate some concern in various corners of the online community. (As it had previously when similar special conditions were published regarding the 787.) The special conditions seek to ensure that Boeing takes action prior to certification to satisfy the agency that the aircraft's systems are protected from unauthorized external sources, even during maintenance. Toward that end, it has requested that Boeing identify and assess potential electronic system security threats and create systems that adequately protect the aircraft from those threats.

Boeing's 747-8 jetliner program accepted early orders in 2005, and the company the jet's current order holders include Cargolux of Luxembourg, Lufthansa (which is seeking 20 of the jets), Nippon Cargo Airlines of Japan and Korean Air. First flight of the 747-8 aircraft is expected to take place before the end of the month. The Boeing 747 quietly passed a milestone on Jan. 21, celebrating the 40th year since its maiden commercial flight.