U.S. aerospace and defense giant Boeing Opens a New Window. may be facing another public controversy related to its 787 Dreamliner jets — this one appears to pertain to cybersecurity Opens a New Window. .
A new report from Wired Opens a New Window. details claims by a security researcher that leaked code has exposed potential security flaws in the 787 Dreamliner systems, which could allegedly allow an individual to access a restricted part of the plane’s network. That access may permit the individual to potentially gain control of things ranging from the aircraft’s in-flight entertainment system to its flight controls and sensors.
Boeing denied those claims, saying the scenarios detailed by the researcher “cannot affect any critical or essential airplane system and do not describe a way for remote attackers to access important 787 systems like the avionics system.”
Boeing even said it tested the findings both in a lab and on an airplane and found that “existing defenses in the broader 787 network prevent the scenarios claimed.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it has been working with Boeing and the Department of Homeland Security to assess the claims and the agency is “satisfied with the assessment of the issue.”
Boeing said the researcher did not have access to its larger system or working environments, calling the presentation “irresponsible and misleading.”
Wired noted that the security researcher admitted that he doesn’t have a full enough picture of the jet, or access to one, to be able to confirm his claims.
Other experts told Wired that – based on the initial findings alone – a thief would not be able to cause immediate danger to passengers.
Nonetheless, the experts believe he has found a potential vulnerability that could lead to larger problems if not addressed.
The claims could bring more attention to the issue of security regarding Boeing’s jets – which has been an ongoing challenge for the company after two of its 787 Max jets were involved in fatal crashes.
The aircraft has been grounded since March. Boeing said it would face a $4.9 billion charge, an estimate of what it will pay out to airlines affected by the grounding.