An eEnabled aircraft is an aircraft that has one or more IT networks on board and requires a connection to a ground based network for its operation.
Both the A380 and B787 are classed as eEnabled aircraft and their respective airframers have heralded that eEnabled aircraft will provide opportunities for airlines to operate aircraft more effectively.
For this to become a reality, the main airline challenge is the successful uploading/downloading of aircraft information. This has to be carried out securely and with the confidence that information will be delivered without any external interference.
Consider the diagram’s below, traditionally aircraft security was contained physically on board with no major external interfaces. With the introduction of eEnabled aircraft, you can see this has opened up multiple channel’s of communications with several external IT networks, each having their own independent IT security.
IT Security and infrastructure are key to the successful operation of these new aircraft and for the first time, the regulatory meaning of ‘Airworthiness’ now includes the IT networks involved in the servicing of the aircraft.
Assume one of these eEnabled channels had been proven to be weak. Potentially, because IT Security is only as strong as its weakest link, we could assume all communication channels had been compromised.
Airframers have put a lot of effort considering these types of scenarios and provde tools to protect the aircraft. Airlines however have to consider not just the successful operation of new eEnabled aircraft but the wider protection of their existing IT network operations.
- A Case For Aircraft Security
- New Generation Aircraft Challenges
- Dream Start For Boeings 787 First Flight
- Did A Software Virus Contribute To Fatal Air Crash