Cyber criminals could access into 787 Dreamliner’s chip
Friday, 01. June 2012, 18:36
Two Cambridge researchers have warned that a 'back door' in a chip used by the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, could leave them open to a cyber attack.
The vulnerability is in a chip used in the plane's
computer systems, which could be taken over via the internet, allowing
malicious attackers a way 'past' computer protection systems, reports the
Sergei Skorobogatov of Cambridge University and Chris
Woods of Quo Vadis Labs, have now alerted governments around the world and
offered information on how the chip could be hacked.
The 'back door' has been discovered in a chip made by
Actel, a US manufacturer, which is used in both military systems and aircraft
such as the Boeing 787.
Mr Woods explained to the Guardian: 'An attacker can
disable all the security on the chip, reprogram cryptographic and access keys …
or permanently damage the device.'
'Back doors' can often be inserted into computer systems
by their programmers so that they can gain quick access if needed, however in
this type of chip the 'easy access' leaves it exposed to attack.
Actel has claimed that its chips are incredibly secure as
there is no way for configuration data contained on them to be read by the
outside world, but the 'back door' undermines that claim.
Although the built-in access is not malicious in itself,
it becomes a vulnerability now that it is known. And due to it being hardwired
into the chip, it is almost impossible to eradicate.
The two researchers will be presenting the paper on their
findings at a conference in Brussels in September.
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