Cybersecurity is a hot, and much debated topic. This is not new news, as the integrity of software solutions, hardware and aircraft communications systems, particularly onboard small, private aircraft has been discussed by operators and hackers alike.
The U.S. and European aviation authorities, although in agreement about the need to improve standards, are experiencing a divided opinion about the methods to employ to combat potential attacks to cybersecurity.
Most of the discord seems to stem from the regulatory standards about the size of aircraft, and the scope of regulations to be applied. The U.S. FAA wants to impose standard for large aircraft, and fear that U.S. companies will find it difficult to sell flight management systems in Europe.
European officials from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) believe that all aircraft, regardless of size or operational scope, should be subject to the same cybersecurity regulations.
The FAA has been tasked with the creation of a panel to discuss and propose new regulatory standards by the middle of next year.
Cybersecurity is increasing in importance since the spate of infiltrations last year of digital aviation systems. Aviation cybersecurity solutions providers maintain that reliable security systems can protect vital infrastructure in addition to the provision of physical security. It seems that both are equally important as potential threats continue to increase around the world.
Former hacker, now an IT consultant, Mr Phil Kernick, has highlighted weaknesses in the Australian airports systems that could be exploited by hackers.
Mr Kernick says that the focus of authorities has been placed too much on the physical than on IT infrastructure, which should be better protected from what he believes are ‘daily attacks’.
Protection of IT infrastructure is critical for airlines, who process flight plans, passenger data and hundreds of thousands of mission critical transmissions every day. According to Mr Kernick, it is a simple process to place a 4G hacking device into an airport power system. He notes that airport personnel carry access cards once within the secure environment past screening areas, but that this can lead to a relaxation of security if all personnel make the assumption that restricted areas are secure.
To make his point clear, Mr Kernick said, “The more you think you do physical security well, the easier the job is [for intruders], because you believe your security works. This is how they get into bank data centres. It is surprisingly easy.”
Cyber security is an increasing issue within airports across the world. With daily threats of attacks, whether to physical security or infrastructure, security providers are under growing pressure to maintain solutions to combat these threats.
Rockwell Collins has announced another acquisition with the purchase of International Communications Group Inc. in a $50 million deal, which may rise by an additional $14 million after the deal is completed.
ICG Inc., based in Virginia, provides the aviation industry with global satellite voice and data communications products and services. Once the deal is finalised, Rockwell Collins will integrate ICG’s portfolio into its growing information management business, particularly with the latest generation of Iridium smart routers and satellite communications terminals.
CEO of ICG Inc., Mr Scott Trainum said of the acquisition, “Bringing ICG into the Rockwell Collins family is the culmination of 20 years of hard work by the dedicated team of professionals at ICG. [This is] a remarkable accomplishment by all of our people.”
AVSEC, this year’s IXG aviation security conference will be held in Dubai over two days – 16th and 17th September – and will discuss the latest security needs and requirements of the aviation industry in an exploration of how technology today can enhance the industry’s ability to meet the growing challenges in this sector.
Key topics will include an assessment of ‘new and evolving threats to civil aviation’, developments in technology, cyber security, emergency response and crisis management, ways to maintain a motivated security workforce and, perhaps most importantly for some, passenger processing and handling in a discussion entitled ‘Integrated Design for Aviation Security Systems’.
Throughout the world, aviation security systems are becoming increasingly automated, and there is a growing demand within the security sector for additional physical security equipment and systems to cope with the growth in passenger numbers. Providers of physical security systems for aviation are under pressure to provide systems integrating physical and cyber security measures for comprehensive protection against the threat of attack.
This September the platform will be open for a global aviation security discussion in Dubai as the Information Exchange Group announce the dates for the Aviation Security Conference 2015.
IXG has said that the conference will offer the most prominent platform for a ‘Discuss-Debate-Deliberate’ session on the most critical issues in the field of aviation security.
Topics to be aired will include the assessment of the latest threats to civil aviation, the industry’s technical developments and innovations, cyber security and crisis management amongst other subjects.
A panel of EMEA regional experts will attend and open the discussions.
Flight passenger numbers are increasing every year by an average of 5%, which may not sound like much, but we are talking millions of travellers passing through country’s border management systems, placing strain on many an airport infrastructure.
In addition to this growing pressure, airports and border agencies are also faced with the increasing threat of terrorism, which is also growing at an alarming pace, particularly over the last few years.
So what is the answer? Airports all over the world are being left with no other choice than to invest heavily in strengthening security measures across the entire airport environment.
This has led to a surge in growth for the airport security systems sector, which, according to new analysis from Frost and Sullivan estimates that the market will earn revenues in the region of $12-$13million by 2023. The study looked at the areas of perimeter security, surveillance and access control amongst many other aspects including data integration and cyber security as we see the concerns rising with the development and utilisation of connectivity onboard aircraft.
With NextGen technologies also poised to catapult the entire industry into the future, aviation security providers must be ready to go global.