Boeing's new 787-8 Dreamliner airplane contains several "novel or unusual design features" that are exposed to in-flight hacking attacks, according to a caution from the Federal Aviation Authority.
The warning, contained in a document posted to Cryptome.org, centers around the proposed architecture of the 787, which allows "new kinds of passenger connectivity to previously isolated data networks" and could expose those networks to malicious hacker attacks.
"Because of this new passenger connectivity, the proposed data network design and integration may result in security vulnerabilities from intentional or unintentional corruption of data and systems critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane," the FAA said.
"[The] existing regulations and guidance material did not anticipate this type of system architecture or electronic access to aircraft systems that provide flight critical functions," it added.
The FAA said current regulations and current system safety assessment policies and techniques do not address potential security vulnerabilities that could be caused by unauthorized access to aircraft data buses and servers.
The warning, first reported by Wired.com, exposes a serious weakness in the design of the plane, which seats 210-250 passengers and is expected to take the skies early this year.
A Boeing official told Wired.com that the wording of the FAA document is "misleading," but said the company is working on sandboxing the networks (physically and via firewalls) to mitigate the potential risk.
* Image via Aviation Explorer.com.