Technology and cyber systems have become essential components of modern society. Despite the benefit of cyber technologies, insecurities arise. These could affect all systems and infrastructures. More than that, the threat of a cyberattack could very well have a transnational component and effect as worldwide systems become increasingly interconnected.

Civil aviation is mainly reliant on cyber-enabled technology that is used to increase the safety and efficiency of air transport. However, as the aviation industry becomes increasingly digitalized, the interconnectivity of systems and dependence on technology has led to the emergence of new risks. The aviation industry is using a computer-based interconnected system spanning across air navigation systems, onboard aircraft control and communication systems, airport ground systems, flight information systems, security screening and many other technologies that are used on a daily basis and for all aviation-related operations.

The Aviation Cyber Threat Landscape

The aviation digital attack surface continues to grow in such a way that both managing risk and gaining insight into it remain difficult. With emerging technologies like machine learning and fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications experiencing wider adoption—alongside electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), and autonomous aircraft—aviation cybersecurity risk management is becoming more and more complex. This will inevitably increase the number of aviation actors potentially impacted by a cyber-attack.

The increased attack surface affects all components of the aviation sector: airports, airlines, Air Traffic Control (ATC) centers, supply vendors, and even passengers. To shed some light on the current state of aviation security, ImmuniWeb conducted a study on cybersecurity, compliance and privacy at some of the world’s largest airports. According to the research findings, “97 out of 100 the world’s largest airports have security risks related to vulnerable web and mobile applications, misconfigured public cloud, Dark Web exposure or code repositories leaks.” The only international airports (Read more...)