Avionics News November 2015 - 44
CAN YOUR AVIONICS BE HACKED?
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Avionics News his company's equipment uses sophisticated
encryption and other security standards equivalent to those
employed by the world's financial sector, where the need for
the highest security in data communications is obvious. "The
high standard of IP security (in the financial sector employs the)
same principles we do in aviation," he said. "No private networks maintain a higher level of data integrity than Gogo's."
In addition to the lack of a two-way connection between
IFE and primary avionics, it's important to recognize that using
an app downloaded from the Internet to change a commercial
aircraft's flight plan just can't happen. Any software used as an
EFB on a consumer-grade PED in the cockpit of a commercial
transport aircraft must meet the standards specified in the FAA's
Advisory Circular AC 120-76C, Guidelines for the Certification,
Airworthiness, and Operational Use of Electronic Flight Bags
and obtain the FAA's approval. The highest certification/approval
standards - Class 3 device/Type C software - requires compliance with multiple industry standards and FAA Advisory Circular
AC 20-173, Installation of Electronic Flight Bag Components.
Plus, there are other safeguards, like requiring flight crew
intervention before something like a flight plan is loaded from
an approved EFB and activated in certified avionics, which is
the case even aboard noncommercial aircraft. As Kearney put it,
"Rockwell Collins is working with cert authorities and airlines
to identify technology and ways of allowing a PED in the cockpit in the future. But today, pilots are using PEDs as look-up/
reference material. The pilot is still the 'human in the loop' and
is manually entering data into the system from what he/she is
reading on the PED."
Aboard noncommercial aircraft, the certification hurdles
aren't as high but still require crew intervention to accept and
activate a flight plan. Most PED/EFB use in modern cockpits is
dedicated to innovative ways of displaying situational information - traffic, weather and aeronautical data - obtained from
installed or dedicated portable avionics. Importantly, such uses
typically are for advisory purposes only. To use a PED's EFB
software for displaying primary and required data at a minimum requires jumping through the certification and approval
hoops described in AC 120-76C.
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