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In a near future, LiFi technology will replace WiFi in a commercial aircraft. LiFi will make nonstop internet service possible. This will generate some new issues in air travel security. Especially security issues, let's say a terrorist group just needs to bring their notebooks or any other small computers with them in the cabin. They will be able to hijack the plane freely while they sitting down in the cabin. They can change the direction of the plane to whatever they wanted to, shut down the engine at any time, change the fuel amount, or even they made a ransom scenario. So, my question is:

  1. Did the FAA already create a regulation to prevents such scenarios in the future?
  2. Should the passengers be allowed or unallowed to bring their own computers? if unallowed, what will be the benefits of LiFi compared to the WiFi?
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  • $\begingroup$ I fail to follow your reasoning: aircraft devices are not directly connected to internet and passengers systems (such as entertainment systems) are physically separated from aircraft instruments. Having a new way to connect passengers to the outside world (such as when wifi-based internet access was introduced in airliners) does not change anything to those premises. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Aug 30, 2020 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Manu, actually segregation between the 3 network domains (aircraft control, airline services, passenger services) is not physical, but logical. All domains need to communicate thru the same satellite link, so there are gateways. The risk has been ignored until recently (I've seen more technical descriptions of vulnerabilities, but can't put an hand on them at the moment). I'm not saying WiFi replacement is a factor in the whole picture. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Sep 19, 2020 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ @mins I don't understand why aircraft control need to communicate using a satellite link. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Sep 19, 2020 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Manu: This page give an idea (excepts the success of steering the aircraft from the IFE by Chris Roberts is a myth in my opinion). If you look at the top of page 6 of this study by Berkeley researchers, you'll have an idea of how domains are segregated logically. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Sep 19, 2020 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @mins I'm quite surprised. I would expect to find at least one mention of vlan (which is used in my domain). I'll read this document and I may come with more precise questions. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Sep 19, 2020 at 14:06

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I don't understand why you think a different connectivity technology would suddenly open up the aircraft's systems. Planes already have wifi onboard and, unsurprisingly, you can not control the aircraft using it.

I'm also not sure why you think Li Fi would change the quality of service. It's currently somewhat unproven but appears to be suited for short range applications, not long range uplinks.

In short, I think both the premise and conclusion is flawed and I can't see why security measures would need to change for LiFi

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  • $\begingroup$ So, whatever the internet access method there will be no issue in security because FMS has a different communication protocol? $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2020 at 7:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Willysatrionugroho, it's not about protocol, but about physically separate communication medium and tight control over information flow between the separate networks. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 30, 2020 at 8:58
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    $\begingroup$ +1 It doesn't matter whether I drive or walk up to your house, it's still the door that stops me getting in $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2020 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see it's not connected to anything it's a closed system. So, we should afraid of someone that able to make the key to getting into our house. $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2020 at 11:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Willysatrionugroho: Avionics is not a closed system, for example some instrument data are sent to a reporting system (ACARS to name it) which uses a satellite link to contact the airline or the engine manufacturer while flying. The entertainment system also uses this satellite link to connect the WiFi access point to an IP point of presence on the ground. Those connections are bidirectional and packets destinations, if spoofed, can be exchanged so the two domains now communicate. Of course security will try and hopefully succeed to prevent spoofing. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Sep 19, 2020 at 4:55

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