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Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity

13 July 2021: In the latest Think Paper from EUROCONTROL, cybercrime in aviation is addressed, asking if the industry resilient enough to cope, and what more needs to be done to improve our collective cyber resilience.

As noted in the annual EATM/CERT annual report published in May (below), the number of cyber incidents that aviation faced in 2020 was not proportional to the level of air traffic demand, with the aviation industry experiencing significantly more cyber security attacks in 2020 than in 2019.

The latest Think Paper reinforces that European aviation is under attack, showing how the industry is increasingly exposed to rising levels of risk, as cybercriminals look to exploit new vulnerabilities amidst the worst financial crisis aviation has ever experienced.  

The main conclusions from the paper demonstrate that ;

  • Airlines continue to be an irresistible target for cybercriminals, with around $1 billion a year lost from fraudulent websites alone. Add to that data theft, card fraud, air miles fraud, phishing, fake invoices and more, and you have a perfect storm for a part of the industry that continues to reel from the pandemic.
  • Every week, an aviation actor suffers a ransomware attack somewhere in the world, with big impacts on productivity and business continuity, let alone data loss and/or costly extortion demands paid in order to restart operations.
  • Fortunately, no impact on flight safety has yet been reported – but that is no grounds for complacency, with state-sponsored or highly organised crime syndicates capable of conducting large-scale targeted intrusions that aim at massive disruption as much as financial gain.
  • Many aviation actors, including in the supply chain, are exposing themselves to extra risk by not systematically applying basic IT security controls.
  • Digital identities need to be better safeguarded, which is why Europe needs the EACP (European Aviation Common Public Key Infrastructure), a solution currently under development by EUROCONTROL and partners.
  • EUROCONTROL’s EATM-CERT services, and those of its cyber partners, are key to foiling fraudsters, and save stakeholders millions every year.

To read the full paper, please click here.

To access all the previous papers, please click here: https://ansperformance.eu/publications/ectl/think/

 

5 May 2021: Published last month, the EUROCONTROL/EATM-CERT 2021 report on cyber in aviation provides a more precise overview of the main cyber threats facing the aviation industry in 2021 (mostly in Europe), as well as outlining their vulnerabilities.

The number of cyber attacks that aviation faced in 2020 was not proportional to the level of air traffic demand, with the aviation industry experiencing significantly more cyber security attacks in 2020 than in 2019 (based on the analysis of ~1.260 incidents and events that were reported in 2020, compared with 200 the previous year, although improvements in detection capability have improved and COVID-19 provided an increased opportunity for cyber security threats).

Airspace users remained the prime target of cyber crime attacks in 2020. These attacks consisted mainly of fraudulent activities aimed at stealing money or data. Financial gain and intellectual property theft remain the main motivation for these attacks. Phishing, in particular using a COVID-19 related theme, increased.

The theft of intellectual property rights, of particular concern to OEMs, was highlighted as even more challenging at a time when the trend is to move data onto cloud-based infrastructure, which is remotely accessible through more and more devices (for example PC, mobile phone).

More of these cyber incidents and events were classified as 'high' in the severity rating than in 2019. It was noted that one explanation for this being that more aviation stakeholders shared more sensitive events.

The report is available here. Please note that EUROCONTROL have marked the document TLP: Green and therefore is distrusted to trusted aviation actors, but not meant for public nor media access.

 

Publication of Strategy for Cybersecurity in Aviation

10 September 2020: Under the European Strategic Coordination Platform (ESCP) initiative, representatives of European aviation stakeholders, as well as non-European aviation organisations participating as observers, elaborated a strategy aimed at reducing and mitigating the cyber risk in aviation.

According to observations, cybersecurity incidents are increasing in frequency, magnitude and complexity, and have no borders. Technological advances and behavioural changes in people are major drivers of this trend and both are modifying the risk landscape of many sectors, including air transport/aviation.

To address this threat, EASA has developed a Cybersecurity Roadmap, endorsed by the Management Board in November 2015. Since then, EASA has worked on its implementation and a number of initiatives were launched to better address cybersecurity risks in aviation improving resilience and fostering built-in security.  

The achievement of a cyber resilient aviation system and the incorporation of cybersecurity into the current safety notion require a coordinated effort of the aviation system stakeholders. To this extent, the EASA-led European Strategic Coordination Platform (ESCP) involves collaboration from ERA and representatives of other key industry stakeholders, member states and EU Institutions.  

The publication of the Strategy for Cybersecurity in Aviation is aimed at improving the international collaboration on the subject as well as promoting the sharing of information amongst aviation stakeholders.  This collaboration is contributing at harmonising aviation stakeholder’s objectives and has made possible the development of this first common Strategy for Cybersecurity in Aviation.  The involved stakeholders are also in the process of defining a common roadmap in order to implement this strategy. 

Additionally and to promote voluntary information sharing and expert collaboration, the European Centre for Cybersecurity in Aviation (ECCSA) has been created and ERA are in the process of applying for membership of this important initiative.