Airworthiness authorities (EASA/FAA) have expressed their concerns regarding security of new e-enabled aircraft (A380, B787, A350) through SC (Special Conditions) and CRI (Certification Review Items).
These concerns are now being extended to legacy aircraft that have been modified to include such e-enabled systems. On January 15 th 2010 the FAA published an SC applicable to the B747-8/8F, due to the introduction of new technologies on this modified ‘legacy’ aircraft.
The main novelty is the use of digital system architecture composed of several connected networks / domains :
Flight safety related control, communication and navigation systems (ACD – Aircraft Control Domain)
Airline business and administrative support (AISD – Airline Information System Domain)
Passenger information and entertainment (PIESD – Passenger Information and Entertainment System Domain)
and the concern that these networks may be subject to unauthorized access .
As a consequence , “Connectivity” has to be taken in a scope wider than only Cabin Connectivity, including all kinds of communication ( ground system to aircraft systems and aircraft systems to aircraft systems ).
Similar special conditions were issued early in 2008 for the B787 (‘Isolation or Protection from Unauthorized Passenger Domain Systems Access’ and ‘Protection of Airplane Systems and Data Networks from Unauthorized External Access’).
Airbus has demonstrated compliance with Certification Review Items (CRI) on:
A330 / A340: CRI S1068 “Aircraft Information Network System (AINS)” and CRI S1072 “Cabin Information Network System (CINS) and Wireless Area Network”
(Note: CRI S1068 and CRI S1072 do not mention any requirements or security principles for IFE systems or interfaces)
“ This safety assessment process should take into account possible human intentional aggressions through the open world using airborne peripherals or through application at the Airport LAN level . Note: Human intentional aggression on networks is recognized by JAA as a difficult area.”
“ Airbus should demonstrate that network is sufficiently protected against this hazard. Airbus should demonstrate that users application (including user modifiable software) cannot impact the protection/segregation mechanism (between the avionics world and the open world) .”
A380: CRI F-21 “Network Server System (NSS)” and CRI F-47 “Cabin Information Network System (CINS) and Wireless Area Network”
(Note: CRI F-21 and CRI F-47 do not mention any requirements or security principles for IFE systems or interfaces)
“ Airbus should demonstrate that the avionics network is sufficiently protected against Human intentional aggression on networks and that users’ application (user modifiable software) cannot impact the protection/segregation mechanism (between the avionics world and the open world.”
WAEA SFW Connectivity Update – Universal Sheraton - March 25, 2010 “ According to this [CINS safety assessment] analysis, Airbus should define the design assurance levels and software levels of each CINS component or function. This safety assessment process should address possible human intentional aggressions through CINS applications and use of passengers PEDs.” “ Passenger’s wired or wireless access to CINS should result in NO increased security vulnerabilities to the aircraft or its systems . Airbus should conduct appropriate validation testing of those interfaces to confirm there are no security vulnerabilities.” On the A350 we will have to demonstrate compliance with CRI F-38, FAA SA-1 and FAA SA-2.
WAEA SFW Connectivity Update – Universal Sheraton - March 25, 2010 In Flight Air-Ground Links Ground Networks On-board Networks Satcom / ATG Link Manage off-board communications Link A/C to external applications (Ground Network) Manage on-board Networks Manage & Control Wireless signals Manage Wired Networks & interfaces Ground Link Aircraft Architecture On Ground
The following needs to be answered with respect to those functions:
Manage off-board communications
Which air-ground (ground-ground) links shall be supported? If this link is shared with cockpit communications , have all necessary studies been done to ensure aircraft performance and security are not affected by such connectivity traffic?
Are applicable certification rules for new e-enabled aircraft (A350, B787, B747-8) which require segregation between cabin and operational communications met ?
Manage on-board wireless signals function:
Are the proposed wireless frequencies to be used in line with regulatory standards and Airbus directives?
Are wireless communications used (or planned to be used) by other maintenance, cabin or cockpit applications? If yes,
How to ensure that aircraft performance is not affected ?
How to secure the evolution and coexistence of several wireless systems on board as well as continuous compliance to regulatory requirements
Currently, there is a lively discussion about using the 60 GHz band for on- and off-aircraft applications that require high data rates.
A number of developments have generated this interest:
FCC has made available 7 GHz of unlicensed bandwidth in the 60 GHz band providing potential for data rates of several Gigabits/s
IEEE standard 802.15.3c is being developed for mm-wave communications
Technological developments such as 60 GHz transceiver circuits with cost efficient silicon based technologies as well as the progress in memory technology enable the development of ultra-high data rate communication system
The EASY-A project (Enablers for Ambient Services & Systems Part A – 60 GHz Broadband links) has been initiated to cover a comprehensive investigation concerning the usability of the 60 GHz band as well as the elaboration of efficient system and implementation concepts.
The project covers a range of potential applications including a WLAN system for video streaming into an aircraft cabin or vehicle as well as the development of a fast wireless data synchronization link for consumer applications.
The EASY-A consortium consists of 14 institutions – 9 from industry, 3 research institutes and 2 universities . Additionally a number of subcontractors will supply specific know-how to the consortium.
Airbus is involved through EADS Innovation Works (an EASY-A consortium member) and is working on a sub-project “Cabin integration and test of a 60 GHz system” and the realisation of a high-data rate wireless IFE system in an aircraft cabin.
EADS Innovation Works / Airbus are working on the following topics:
Specification of the 60 GHz IFE system
Characterisation of different cabin materials at 60 GHz
Definition of areas to install the antennae and integration of the antenna modules into the ceiling and seats of the cabin