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FAA Dismisses Android App Airplane Takeover
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MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2013 | 4:40:01 PM
re: FAA Dismisses Android App Airplane Takeover
So it comes down to a matter of credibility. A government agency (credible ?) making a public statement on a possible vulnerability outside their field of expertise (software) that if true would certainly be cause for concern and desiring to downplay the possibility (credible ?). A trained cyber security researcher with a reputible firm (credible ?) backed by specific subject matter knowledge (certified pilot) that publishes a possible exploit specific to a certain software product utilized by certain aircraft (credible ?). Ummmm, hmmmm, well that's a difficult decision on who to trust.
Andolasoft
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Andolasoft,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2013 | 2:56:39 PM
re: FAA Dismisses Android App Airplane Takeover
Android Mobile Application Development has evolved to become the foremost option for the developers ...... ( www.andolasoft.com )
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2013 | 1:45:23 AM
re: FAA Dismisses Android App Airplane Takeover
It's possible to take a commercial-grade aircraft operated by the Air Force or another branch of the armed forces and try this in a secluded area. Or, even better, take an stockpiled 737, upgrade it to the latest hardware, build it out as a remotely controlled aircraft and try out these exploits...

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2013 | 1:43:17 AM
re: FAA Dismisses Android App Airplane Takeover
I think the question here is... "Are you so sure?"

Let's think about this for a minute from a risk management standpoint - if Mr. Teso's research shows that he can modify the control configuration of a simulator which is based on the actual flight management system in use, wouldn't it make sense to take his research and try it in a controlled environment analogous to the simulator but on a real aircraft? What's the cost of that flight vs. the lawsuits involved when someone actually does "solve the puzzle" and ends up landing an Airbus or a Boeing without a runway?

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
eafpres1
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eafpres1,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/13/2013 | 4:03:21 PM
re: FAA Dismisses Android App Airplane Takeover
I can see many reasons the training software, which runs on a laptop, would be quite different from the "hardened" software. It has to be ported to run on the processor in the laptop within an operating system which is surely different than that in the real avionics. It does not (presumably) receive any actual data, so these are simulated.

Look at this another way--if you had a made for purpose secure communication module in an aviation environment, and you were asked to get a version to run on a laptop under, say, Windows 7, would you commit that you could keep it secure? I doubt it.

What would eliminate all the debate would be to demonstrate his method works on a real aircraft. That, of course, would require some special permission as it is illegal to intentionally disrupt such communications in US airspace. So your points about the FAA's motivations are probably correct, the result being not that we can be sure there is a problem, but only that we are unlikely to know the true answers.
sswigart97201
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sswigart97201,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/12/2013 | 6:19:02 PM
re: FAA Dismisses Android App Airplane Takeover
A best practice in software development would be to use as close to the same software as possible in production and in simulators. If you have already developed hardened software for use in aircraft, why would you strip that hardening (buffer overrun protection, etc) out for simulator software? You wouldn't. This article also doesn't dispute that many of the data streams to/from the aircraft are unencrypted which would make spoofing possible. Finally, assuming systems are vulnerable, what incentive would the FAA and aircraft manufacturers have to admit it? The FAA assurances ring hollow in this one.


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