Challenges of security and trust in Avionics Wireless Networks

Raja Akram, Konstantinos Markantonakis, Sharadha Kariyawasam, Shahid Ayub, Amar Seem, Robert Atkinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Avionics networks have a set of stringent reliability and safety requirements. In existing deployments, most of these networks are based on wired technology which provides a high degree of reliability and safety. Furthermore, it simplifies the security management of the network since certain assumptions, including an inability for an attacker to access the network, can be safely made. The proposal for having an Avionics Wireless Network (AWN), currently being developed by multiple aerospace working groups, promises reduction in the complexity of electrical wiring harness design and fabrication, reduction in wiring weight, increased configurability, and potential monitoring of otherwise inaccessible moving or rotating aircraft parts. While providing these benefits, the AWN must ensure that it provides, at a minimum, equivalent levels of safety to those offered by the wired network. Substituting the wired network with a wireless network, even for a specific set of well-defined and non-critical tasks, brings a whole set of new challenges related to assurance, reliability, and security. In this paper, we discuss the security and trust challenges an AWN deployment might face, along with highlighting potential directions for solutions. Furthermore, as a case study we will elaborate on AWN deployment variants especially the wireless as a comm-link. Finally, the paper makes suggestions that set the agenda for security, reliability and trust work that could, if successful, provide an AWN system meeting the required safety standards.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE/AIAA 34th Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC)
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2015

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