Friday, June 8, 2012

How hackers could bring down Boeing's new Dreamliner jet

There is a hidden "back door" in the jet's computer chip

It would usually be a fairly safe bet to assume new passenger planes would be protected from hacking attacks, however this may not be the case with Boeing's new Dreamliner jet.

Experts have claimed a hidden “back door” in a computer chip used in the jets’ computer systems could be exploited by cyber-criminals in order to override and control the planes, the UK’s Guardian reported.

Researchers Sergei Skorobogatov of Cambridge University and Chris Woods of Quo Vadis Labs sent out a warning to governments around the world after reportedly discovering the hacking method. "The great danger comes from the fact that such a back door undermines the high level of security in the chip making it exposed to various attacks,” they noted in a document cited by the Guardian.

"An attacker can disable all the security on the chip, reprogram cryptographic and access keys… or permanently damage the device." Woods claims the “back door” is inserted into a device for extra functionality, offering a secret way to get into the chip and control it without needing an encrypted channel.

The chips are used in areas such as communications and consumer products as well as the military, medical and automotive industries.

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