The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) publicly announced last Friday in Federal Register–the publication for all details concerning government ordinance and public notices–that the Boeing Company is now required to make modifications to their 737 jetliner technology to protect against attacks by computer hackers.”This may allow the exploitation of network security vulnerabilities resulting in intentional or unintentional destruction, disruption, degradation or exploitation of data and systems critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane, which could result in unsafe conditions for the airplane and its occupants,” the FAA said.
The order, effective immediately, applies to those models employing the use of interconnected networks in their digital systems, such as the 737-700, -700C, -800, -900ER, -7, -8 and -9 airline designs. These models are built with a network configuration for increased connectivity, creating the occasional backdoor that gives access to hackers.
Even though the public has every right for commentary until July 21 the FAA is deeming it unnecessary, that this procedure “would significantly delay issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected aircraft.”
With the ruling in place the FAA hopes to keep the pace for the design and delivery of new planes produced by the Boeing Company.
Doug Alder, spokesman for Boeing said that conditions laid out in the FAA order are “not unusual” and help to “institutionalize actions already planned by the manufacturer.”
“They are a normal part of the process for introducing new technology or design features not previously addressed by regulation,” Alder said. “Special conditions are one way regulators and manufacturers work together to ensure that commercial airplanes are safe and secure.”