Boeing 747s Receives Updates Through Floppy Disks

  • AUTHOR: dua
  • POSTED ON: August 12, 2020

747-400 aircraft was first introduced in 1988, but it is interesting to know
that it is still managing to receive critical software updates with the help of
3.5-inch floppy disks.

Sources have revealed that security
researchers at Pen Test Partners quite recently got access to a British Airway’s
747 – this, of course, happened after the airline retired its fleet following
the plummet in traveling during the pandemic.

you know that the team was able to investigate a complete avionics bay beneath
the passenger’s deck, that too with its data centre like racks of modular black
boxes that operate many tasks for the plane?

disks drive found in the cockpit are used to load important navigation
information. This database is updated after every 28 days with at least one
engineer visiting every month with the most recent updates.

database found on these 3.5-inch floppy disks is increasing in size day by day.
This seems to be an individual choice for airlines because some choose to
continue the use of floppy disks whereas others have countered the option and
chosen other devices.

true that most modern planes choose to adopt latest and sophisticated technologies.
In addition, security researchers have found interest in learning how planes
protect passengers from interfering flights.

is still one of the most relevant concerns when it comes to in-flight
entertainment systems. One of the cybersecurity researchers recently found a
buffer overflow being exploited onboard. This happened last year on a British
Airway flight. This researcher was able to utilize a USB mouse so as to insert
long strings of text into the in-flight chat app. This isn’t because these
security researchers are still looking into defects and vulnerabilities that
could potentially allow them to communicate with flight systems with publicly accessible
parts of planes.

planes like Boeing’s 777X and 787 mainly utilize fiber networks – this is where
most of the avionics plug into networks that are controlled by a pair of
external computers by the critical software of flight. Hence, the latest
aircrafts can receive software updates while being up in the air. However, we
must not divert attention because these systems are still quite unreliable

it can be established that despite the winning streak of the latest technology,
floppy disks have still survived.


Updated August 12, 2020
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