In a report released last week, the FAA said that Boeing had left the pilots' computers open to attack by connecting the Dreamliner's entertainment system to the pilots' controls. A hacker with a computer and some IT training potentially could hijack the system from his seat.
Boeing now has to fulfill special conditions before the Dreamliner is certified safe. The 787's maiden flight is scheduled for March 2008 with deliveries supposed to begin in November.
David Learmount, safety editor of Flight International, said: "The FAA is obviously very concerned about this. It's not the kind of organization that fires shots across the bows if it doesn't think it was needed. "It's not good enough to have systems which can be hacked into and then disabled by the pilot. The hacker might have put a bug into the system which screws up the navigation. The FAA doesn't want a system like that. "They're saying: don't bring us an aircraft someone can hack into."
The Dreamliner is the most successful new commercial airplane in Boeing's history. It is Boeing's response to the Airbus A380 super-jumbo and is crucial to the company's success.
Lori Gunter, a Boeing spokeswoman, said that Boeing had designed a system to counter the threat but admitted that it had not yet been tested.
Ms Gunter said that data could pass between the passenger and flight networks, but said there were "protections in place to ensure that the passenger internet service doesn't access the maintenance data or the navigation system under any circumstances".
What's the worry about?
Personally, I think it is not possible to design a plane that is 100 per cent safe against any attacks. My view about this is that, it is only a very remote possibility of it ever happening. Even if it is possible, the pilots would be there to override the system and take over the control manually. That is what they are paid to do! (Forget about the pilot and the dog story!)