Modern airplanes require special cyber security knowledge
Modern eEnabled aircraft are complex and highly connected systems. To cover the most critical assets of an aviation company, on the ground and in the air, a special breed of cyber security experts with deep aviation knowledge is required. Traditional cyber security expertise without a solid understanding of the industry-specific technologies, processes, regulations and standards is not enough in this demanding environment. The multidisciplinary knowledge brought by aviation cyber security experts also facilitates the communication between the aviation experts and the IT personnel of your company.
Aviation companies can’t afford to lose their reputation
In this industry, you can’t avoid touching the delicate topic of safety. Safety is not the same as security, and safety is not the only concern when facing aviation cyber security. A large majority of cyber-attacks do not intend to compromise critical avionic systems or gain control over the aircraft. A more likely scenario is to have attackers taking over in-flight entertainment systems or on-board Wi-Fi connectivity.
Nobody wants to have their brand associated with hacking and to risk losing their reputation. Aviation companies do everything they possibly can to protect their brand and their business.
Transformation of the aviation technologies
In the past, airplanes were delivered as a turnkey, ready to be operated. Today’s airplanes are more and more customized systems. Operators want to differentiate from competition by improving the flight experience for passengers with, for example, in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Aviation specific technologies used to provide an additional layer of security, but are now being replaced with more and more commercial off-the-shelf technologies, which can be breached without aviation-specific knowledge.
OEMs, manufacturers and aviation agencies have a solid safety culture that is reflected in how airplanes are designed, built and maintained. Modern airplanes and technologies, as well as upgraded legacy ones, introduce new systems and concepts that threaten that safety by means that OEMs or agencies cannot foresee. It is then for the operators to take responsibility for the security installation and operation of those systems.
Trust is everything
There is no need to overreact to the safety implications of cyber security attacks on airplanes, as cyber security issues mostly affect non-critical, customer-facing systems such as in-flight entertainment or connectivity. These systems have very limited and controlled connection with the critical systems of an airplane. Still, aviation companies have every reason to avoid these incidents. Hugo Teso, F-Secure’s Head of Aviation Cyber Security Services, says:
In aviation, trust is everything. If you don’t trust an airline you will not take their flight no matter how cheap they are. In aviation, brand is trust. If you lose the brand, you lose the trust. Then, you’ll have the business impact.
Check out the video with Hugo Teso explaining the basics of aviation cyber security:
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