As new technologies emerge such as the continued use of the internet the aviation industry is subject to more threats which arise from cyberspace attacks. Cyber-attacks have become a major threat to the aviation industry. Cyber-attacks have a significant impact on the aviation sector which causes a lot of damage. The cyber-attacks on a given airline could result in loss of essential data and information such as financial details of the customers, customer records, companys revenue details. Cyber-attacks affects the core operations of the airlines and also have a significant impact on the economy of a country as it reduces the business travels, leisure and also the lives of the passengers tend to be at risk. The essay will discuss the impacts of the cyber-attacks on the aviation industry, the major threats that the attacks pose to the industry and also the various policies and procedures that can be implemented to help minimize and as well as identify those vulnerabilities and threats on the aviation sector.
The cyber-attacks by hackers can result in them accessing data that is important to the company and their customers. Hackers tend to use a distributed denial of service attack which is a technique that is mostly accessible through the use of the internet whereby they overload the aviations system by use communication requests that are large in number in a simultaneous manner. It results in the system breakdown. The hackers tend to gain access of the aviations timeline whereby they are able in a position to tell the time when a particular flight will be landing or taking off and as well as the destination that it will be headed to or it will be coming from. It results in terrorists having full details that help them to easily attack such a plane since they also tend to book the plane. This puts the lives of the passengers at risk since they could attack the plane and make the pilot head to a wrong destination which could result to the plane crashing since the pilot tends to lose contact with on the ground management systems resulting in loss of lives. When terrorists attack an aviation center, they could be aiming at kidnapping certain individuals since they tend to have access to the customer's confidential information ("From the Government Accountability Office: Aviation Cyber Security Capabilities Lacking," 2015).
The attacks have resulted in fewer business travels. This is because most of the people have a fear of having their personal information being accessed by the attackers which could be a threat to their security. Most of the civilian aviation companies are prone to hackers. The hackers could have access to the passport control systems, cargo handling and shipping and reservation systems. This makes most of the business people to fear to transport their perishable and valuable products through the use of aircraft since they fear that the system could be hacked which could result in the loss of the commodities and making them suffer financially (United States, 2015, p. 20)
The cyber-attacks significantly affect the economy of a country. It leads to less trade since people make fewer business travels. It results in other people fearing to travel to other countries such as the tourists due to the fear of having the systems of a particular airline that is operating in a given country being hacked by terrorists. It results in the revenue of a country reducing since some countries depend on tourism as being a major form of their income.
The loss of data can financially compromise the aviation company and the customers. The company loses data regarding the people number of people who had booked for a particular flight and this results in the customers not trusting the company. Loss of trust by the customers results in the company suffering financially since most of them tend to use a different airline reducing the income of the aviation company. The loss of the data affects the customers as they may be forced to pay twice for a flight since they may lack enough evidence to show that they had initially paid.
Strategies to Implement
To deal with the aviation cyber security issues the company is required to develop an accurate threat model that will help in describing and defining of attacks that could result in compromising the customer's data and safety and as well as the financial information of the company. The aviation centers should ensure that they set up a Computer Emergency Response Team. The team will help the company in the understanding of the different types of threats that are posed by the cyber-attacks, to identify the various security vulnerabilities and flaw, collect past cyber-attacks evidence and also help the aviation company to be in a position of analyzing and developing the appropriate responses regarding the cyber incidents so as to prevent future damage. The aviation company should establish a governance that reactively and proactively addresses the issues regarding cyber security.
The aviation airlines should ensure that their planes are properly fitted with many transponders that can be used to communicate with the ground management and the air traffic control when the plain is on air. The plains should also be fitted with other systems such as the text-based systems which will enhance the sending critical information regarding the airplane and as well as the cockpit radios. This will help know when the plane is attacked by unknown people or terrorists since turning off such systems tend to be hard.
To help counter the cyber-attacks on aviation companys the entertainment systems and the overall aircraft should be separated. The entertainment systems tend to be an open door through which the hackers use to have access to the companys systems since the entertainment systems have USB ports that are connected to Ethernet. The separation will help in the prevention of unauthorized access to any control system in the plane that could be deliberate or accidental.
The companies should tighten the security by ensuring that all mobile phones are switched off. This is because individuals can use their Android app phones to hack an airplanes navigation system. The hacker is in a position of taking control of the entire control system of the airplane on board which includes the cockpit and the navigation systems.
The other strategy that the aviation companies can use is the installation of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast. This will help deal with the cyber-attacks issue since it is surveillance technology that assists in monitoring and tracking the position of the aircraft. Through the use of this technology the aircraft automatically provides its position through the GNSS and sends that given information through radio frequency. The Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast also helps in the managing of weather reports, traffic data and as well as enables the pilots to have a view of the cockpit ("Fact Sheet: Aviation Enhanced Security Measures for All Commercial Flights to the United States," 2017).
The airline executives should build a security culture and also enhance the leverage tools that help in the strengthening of cyber security capabilities. They should ensure that the Information Technology systems are fully audited and the coverage gaps being fully assessed and ensure that they comply with the new standards that have been set. The cyber security risks should be addressed in the entire aviation company which includes the consumer-facing systems, back-office IT, on board and the maintenance and operations sector. Various security measures should be undertaken such as the encryption of the data to strengthen the security of data and information at the aviation center ("Cyberattacks and the Aviation Sector: How Can Airlines Best Prepare?" 2017).
The flight crews should be well trained. The training should help them to be able to detect and be aware of any security vulnerabilities, the various ways in which the systems can be attacked, how an attack can could occur and the different measures that they should undertake when they suspect the aircraft or any other infrastructure of the aviation company have been cyber attacked.
In conclusion, the aviation industry faces a lot of cyber-attacks threats since it mostly depends on information and communication technology for its operation. The attacks have a significant impact on the economy of a country and also results in loss of essential data. The disabled networks can also result in threatening the security of the passengers. There are various strategies that the aviation companies can undertake to help in the prevention of the cyber-attacks .The strategies include strengthening the security and screening of the passengers, implementation of more advanced systems in the plane such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast and as well as ensure that the passenger's entertainment system is separated from the overall aircraft system.
Cyber-attacks And the Aviation Sector: How Can Airlines Best Prepare? (2017, January 19). Retrieved from http://www.mro-network.com/big-data/cyberattacks-and-aviation-sector-how-can-airlines-best-prepare
Fact Sheet: Aviation Enhanced Security Measures for All Commercial Flights to the United States. (2017, June 28). Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/06/28/fact-sheet-aviation-enhanced-security-measures-all-commercial-flights-united-states
From the Government Accountability Office: Aviation Cyber Security Capabilities Lacking. (2015, April 22). Retrieved from https://digitalguardian.com/blog/government-accountability-office-aviation-cyber-security-capabilities-lacking
United States. (2015). Information security: FAA needs to address weaknesses in air traffic control systems.
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