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Monday, January 07, 2008

I'd rather be offline inside the Dreamliner

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore" goes French historian and novelist Andre Malraux – motivating people to take risks, innovate and grow. But it seems designers at Boeing took that *oceanic discovery* bit a trifle too seriously while working on its 787 Dreamliner. In their eagerness to go one up on competitor Airbus industrie, they chose to let nerdy passengers hook up to the Net while airborne. Nothing wrong with that feature addition, had they not been so very generous to let cyber crawlers mess with the aircraft's control and navigation systems compromising flight safety. Excerpts from the Wired article -

"An FAA document published in the Federal Register (mirrored at says, the vulnerability exists because the plane's computer systems connect the passenger network with the flight-safety, control and navigation network...."

"....Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said the wording of the FAA document is misleading, and that the plane's networks don't completely connect. Gunter wouldn't go into detail about how Boeing is tackling the issue but says it is employing a combination of solutions that involves some physical separation of the networks, known as "air gaps," and software firewalls

Buckle up, log in and crash? Enough to give nightmares... I picture Bin Laden and Al Zawahiri smiling at each other in their caves. Could they have asked for more....?
This is one innovation I'd rather Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing not push too hard. Jim should know that the ultimate in customer service in his line of business is to deliver fail proof equipment systems that allow pilots to guide the airplane to a safe, smooth touch down on the tarmac, on all its wheels. Giving online comforts to nerdy creeps can wait. I am certainly not a fan of belly landing U-boat style adventures..... Scares the shit outta' me...!

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