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Evolving landscape for cybersecurity in aviation – Commentary | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Landscape of threats
Mitigating risk
Collaborative efforts
Regulatory frameworks
Continuous adaption

The rapid digitisation of the aviation industry has ushered in a new era of connectivity and efficiency. However, with this progress comes the escalating concern of cybersecurity. As airlines, airports and aviation organisations increasingly rely on interconnected systems and data-driven technologies, the vulnerability to cyberattacks intensifies. Safeguarding air travel from malicious threats is no longer just a priority but a necessity.

Landscape of threats

Cyberattacks in the aviation sector have the potential for devastating consequences. Hackers targeting flight systems, air traffic control or even passenger data can disrupt operations, compromise safety and undermine public trust. The interconnected nature of aviation systems means that a single breach can have cascading effects, affecting multiple stakeholders and critical functions.

Mitigating risk

To address the evolving threat landscape, the aviation industry must adopt a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. This involves implementing robust security measures at every level, from hardware and software systems to personnel training and awareness. Regular risk assessments, vulnerability testing and proactive monitoring are essential to identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

EU Regulation 261/2004 states that resolving technical problems is considered a normal part of an air carrier’s operations and cannot be considered an extraordinary circumstance. However, the regulation does acknowledge that technical issues may arise from events beyond the carrier’s control (eg, aircraft damages caused by acts of sabotage or terrorism).

Collaborative efforts

Given the interconnectedness of aviation, collaboration between industry stakeholders is vital. Airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers and regulatory bodies must work together to establish standards, share threat intelligence and develop best practices. Information sharing platforms and industry-wide cybersecurity initiatives can enhance collective defences against cyberthreats.

Regulatory frameworks

Recognising the criticality of cybersecurity, regulatory bodies have begun implementing guidelines and regulations specific to aviation. Compliance with international standards, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization’s cybersecurity guidelines, can serve as a foundation for organisations to build their cybersecurity strategies upon. Governments and industry regulators must continue to adapt and update regulations to address emerging threats effectively.

The Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/203 of 27 October 2022 establishes guidelines for identifying and handling information security risks in aviation organisations and competent authorities. It is complemented by the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/1645 of 23 September 2022, which applies specifically to aerodrome operators and apron management service providers. These regulations fall under the purview of PART-IS (information security) and aim to identify, control, respond to, and most importantly, prevent security incidents in the aviation industry.

Continuous adaption

As technology continues to evolve, so do the tactics employed by cybercriminals. The aviation industry must embrace a culture of continuous adaptation to stay ahead of emerging threats. Investing in research and development to identify and address potential vulnerabilities, as well as fostering partnerships with cybersecurity experts, can help organisations keep pace with the evolving threat landscape.

For further information on this topic please contact Laura Pierallini or Francesco Paolo Ballirano at Pierallini Studio Legale by telephone (+39 06 88 41 713) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). Pierallini Studio Legale can be accessed at www.studiopierallini.it.

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