FAA To Adopt Latest Technology For Secured Data Network Flow

By CIOReview | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

FREMONT, CA: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is all geared up to secure its data systems from hackers.  FAA has put together a committee of aircraft manufactures, airline executives and pilots to make network systems and data delivery including air traffic control system, send radar images to flight controllers, control connection to the radio that keep flight controllers in touch with pilots in air much more flexible and secure reports Wyane Rash for eWEEK.

The recent scenario with American Airlines made the aviation business to realize its lack of capabilities in data management and flight management systems. The situation left several flights grounded and others delayed and few cancelled. This was due to technical glitch in onboard flight planning software, making the planes to leave from gates at several cities. Social media picked up on this stating the problem started with crash in flight planning and terminal navigation systems used by pilots.

In addition FCC was breached by cyber-attackers and is working with already existing consultant, SRA International of Fairfax on a sole-source contract basis. The attack has made FAA vigilant to make their global web of data networks used by authorities to provide data such as flight clearances and flight plan updates, shielded from such outside threats. It aims to update its system along with partner agencies in Europe and Asian countries. The objective is to automate ground-based flight management systems, upgrade to the latest available technology and to ensure aircrafts safety during crowed skies.

With commercial planes growing aggressively sophisticated, with complete automation of navigation systems, flight control to fuel management systems, is keeping FAA to work on its toes to incorporate such technology.  Its becomes obvious with cyber attacks the passengers lives are also at risk, for example if hacker feeds in wrong data in refueling details, the flight may not have enough fuel to reach its destination.

Though aviation networks are hard to crack and are kept at bay from cyber-crimes and hackers, such situations demonstrate that it’s not an impossible task.  This should drive the aviation business to work towards providing secure information flow and delivered accurately rather than to check, if the network can be penetrated. The question remains on how they will achieve this and by when.