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Safer Air Travel will come with an Enterprise system setup to handle Travelers Data Request seperate from Avionics and the Cabin.

As more of us want the freedom to use WiFi and services while we fly, yesterday's GAO Report can be a bit scary as far as Security and Safety when traveling on Commercial Aircraft. The Threat is realized and movement to find a safer more secure system is working.

The FAA and Cyber security experts were asked to provide an insight in the possibility of the networks used to attempt take over of an aircraft in flight. Recommendations to an Enterprise type system and to non integrate the avionics and cabin from the networks  are first thoughts. The report section below outlines the findings as they relate to In Flight Networks,

"According to FAA and experts we interviewed, modern communications technologies, including IP connectivity, are increasingly used in aircraft systems, creating the possibility that unauthorized individuals might access and compromise aircraft avionics systems. Aircraft information systems consist of avionics systems used for flight and in-flight entertainment (see fig. 4 below). Historically, aircraft in flight and their avionics systems used for flight guidance and control functioned as isolated and self-contained units, which protected their avionics systems from remote attack. However, according to FAA and experts we spoke to, IP networking may allow an attacker to gain remote access to avionics systems and compromise them—as shown in figure 4 (below). Firewalls protect avionics systems located in the cockpit from intrusion by cabinsystem users, such as passengers who use in-flight entertainment services onboard. Four cybersecurity experts with whom we spoke discussed firewall vulnerabilities, and all four said that because firewalls are software components, they could be hacked like any other software and circumvented. The experts said that if the cabin systems connect to the cockpit avionics systems (e.g., share the same physical wiring harness or router) and use the same networking platform, in this case IP, a user could subvert the firewall and access the cockpit avionics system from the cabin. An FAA official said that additional security controls implemented onboard could strengthen the system. "

Illustration from the GAO of the Avionics and IP systems

While most of the reports I have heard this morning on the GAO Report sound very ominous, the Agencies are working to eliminate the threat completely

To Read the full GAO Report, click through to the GAO Article and the PDF of the Study. The Information regarding safer airtravel starts around page 18.