December 22, 2016

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Cybersecurity in Aviation

Recently, cybersecurity has gained a lot of importance in the Avionics industry. Ever since the attack on Malaysian Airlines MH370 flights, the cyber security experts have focused their attention on the Avionics. The cyber threats in the airlines industry can be far more dangerous and detrimental when compared to any other industry, considering their economic impact, damage of property and media, psychological impact on people, and its propaganda of exploitation which is extremely devastating.

Cybercrimes in aviation can occur through various means and systems such as - Reservation Systems, Flight Management Systems, Flight Traffic Management, Departure Control Systems, Passport Control Systems, Cargo Handling & Shipping, Computers on the Aircraft, Flight Control Systems, GPS, Fuel gauges, Maintenance Computer, Access Control Systems, Hazardous Materials Transportation Management etc.

Thus, the aviation industry is quite vulnerable to these cyber threats which can lead to huge losses. All users are connected through the same network; all the devices, software, information storage and transmit, and its applications, everything is linked to the same network. This provides an easy access to the attacker by tracking down the cyber path easily.

Also, the aircrafts depend on RADAR and satellite communication. The direction and navigation for the aircraft are provided by the RADAR while the data encryption is done with the help of the satellite communication. Thus, transmitting and receiving this data can be easily intercepted.

The need of an hour is to upgrade the #cybersecurity systems to protect aircrafts from cybercrimes

These cybercrimes could lead to disastrous consequences such as such as hijacks, explosions, malware installations etc. But, protecting the avionics from cyber-attack is hard, as it is difficult to predict how the attack may happen, as almost everyone in the world can access the internet and can track the IP-address. This makes it accessible for the enemy to track the path for aircraft and target for destruction. Preventive measures must be carried out to encrypt all the security related information of the aircraft by safeguarding the IP-address used in avionics.

The awareness of cyber-attacks and need for cybersecurity has had a great impact on the aviation industry, leading to many positive measures for the safety of passengers and flights, be it a business flight or fighter planes. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), CYBER SECURITY FRAMEWORK (CSF), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC) are some of the organizations that are actively working to reduce the cyber-attacks.

References:

http://blog.trendmicro.com/how-can-airplane-cyber-security-be-improved/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-airlines-cybersecurity-idUSKCN0SK24020151026

https://www.rsaconference.com/writable/presentations/file_upload/mash-f01-cyber_security_and_aviation_final.pdf

http://airinsight.com/2013/04/08/cyber-security-and-aviation/