Aviation to face growing cyber risks

A leading international expert has said the threat of cyber risk will continue to grow in the aviation sector

Insurance News

By Mina Martin

International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief says protecting against cyber-attacks is a growing challenge for the aviation industry, according to a News24 Wire report.

In IATA’s 72nd Annual General Meeting held in Dublin last week, IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said, “Our electronically connected world is vulnerable to hackers bent on causing chaos.”

“We are vulnerable and there is no guaranteed way to stay a step ahead.”

According to experts, cyber security breaches resulted to an estimated US$500 million in losses in 2015. Experts also say that 94 per cent of global companies have experienced cyber-attacks and that 13 per cent of people still click on phishing attacks.

General Linda Urrutia-Varhall of the US Department of Defence said that aviation remains a central focus for terrorists and criminals.

Kurt Pipal of the FBI explained that airline companies are of interest for industrial espionage because of the huge amounts of data they possess.

To counter cybercrime, Tyler stressed the importance of real-time collaboration and information exchange between the aviation industry and governments.

“Make no mistake. We face real threats,” Tyler said.

“Government and industry must be nimble, share information, use global standards, and keep a risk-based mindset when developing counter-measures.”

Businesses are also cautioned to be very careful of subcontractors, and to share intelligence information in the industry. Suggested Pipa: “Build awareness and do not have a silo approach. Identify your vulnerabilities and make the assumption that you are going to be hacked. Participate in a 24/7 securities operation centre.”

“Occasionally, you could even use a so-called ‘dark agent’ – a hacker to test your system. Companies do fire drills, so why do they not do cyber security drills, too?”

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